SC Freiburg's Admir Mehmedi will be a long way from his birthplace at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil
SC Freiburg's Admir Mehmedi will be a long way from his birthplace at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil

Introducing Switzerland's finest Macedonian Import

It's not often Republic of Macedonia locals have a vested interest in the FIFA World Cup, but SC Freiburg's could be about to change that.

Zürich foundations

Representing his adopted home nation of Switzerland, the 23-year-old arrives in Brazil as one of the key pieces of weaponry in head coach Ottmar Hitzfeld's Bundesliga-peppered arsenal, looking to get the better of, among others, 1998 world champions France in Group E.

Born in the former Yugoslavia, Mehmedi spent his early days 1,732 kilometres north-west of his birthland at Swiss outfit FC Winthertur, before signing for FC Zürich in 2007.

After tasting success in the FIFA Youth Cup in 2008, the Gostivar native was soon promoted to the senior side for whom he scored 19 goals in 84 appearances, meriting a move to Dynamo Kyiv four years down the line.

Turning point

On 4 March 2012, Mehmedi made his debut for his new employers against local rivals Arsenal Kyiv. Seven days later, he bagged his first and only goal in Dynamo colours against FC Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih. Mehmedi struggled to settle in his new surrounds, however, and in the summer of 2013 joined Freiburg on a season-long loan deal.

"Joining Freiburg was the right move for Mehmedi," explained Hitzfeld. "[Freiburg] head coach Christian Streich was keen for him to join, he was given ample playing time and he’s become one of their most important players." His 12 goals and four assists in 32 Bundesliga appearances attest to that.

International pedigree

Earlier on in the piece, the industrious forward earned a runners-up medal with Switzerland at the UEFA European U-21 Championship 2011 as well as making his full international debut in a Euro 2012 qualifier against England that same year.

A string of impressive performances for club and country, including his maiden international strike against Germany on 26 May 2012, latterly rubber-stamped his place in Hitzfeld's final 23-man squad for football's showcase event in Brazil, with a permanent deal at Freiburg coming just days earlier.