Munich - Off the Ball,'s weekday feature, casts an eye over some of the offbeat and occasionally controversial tales to have emerged from Germany's top flight sides.

Today, we see Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann swapping sports, say Happy Birthday to two Hamburg players and congratulate no fewer than five Bundesliga players on their international call-ups to the Croatia squad.

Being a goalkeeper usually requires a big frame, just like being a basketballer. Combining both professions takes plenty of talent, and the FC Schalke 04 goalkeeper showed he's got just that as he leapt to dunk the ball in. Fear not, Schalke fans - Fährmann is not considering a change in his career plan: he was playing for charity.

Hamburger SV may have seen better times than of late, but that did not stop captain and celebrating their birthdays on Tuesday. The Dutch playmaker turned 31 with defender Tah 13 years his junior. They celebrated with a cake in the form of the club's diamond emblem. wishes them many happy returns.

The Bundesliga is a hotbed for foreign talent and it was the first place former Hertha Berlin defender Niko Kovac looked when he named his Croatia squad to face Switzerland in a friendly on 5 March. , , , and make up practically half of the team for a Croatia side who are warming up for the FIFA World Cup next summer.