New Hoffenheim recruit Fabian Schär has come a long way since his days as a banking intern - © © gettyimages
New Hoffenheim recruit Fabian Schär has come a long way since his days as a banking intern - © © gettyimages

Who is... Hoffenheim’s new central defender Fabian Schär?

Cologne - The Bundesliga has long been a playground for Switzerland’s finest, and that promises to be no different in 2015/16 with the arrival of coveted centre-back Fabian Schär from FC Basel 1893.

Back-up plan

The 23-year-old has signed a four-year-deal at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, a club he described as "young, ambitious and ideal for making the next step.”

Schär himself is no stranger to the career ladder. Six years ago, having been a mere spectator for die Nati’s 2009 FIFA Under-17 World Cup triumph, he made his debut in the Swiss second division for hometown club FC Will 1900. Unsure that he would survive in football, the then 17-year-old enrolled as an intern at his local bank.

"I used to work all day in the bank and then go to training and then come home and start my homework at 10pm," Schär explained in an interview on the website of Swiss bank Raiffeisen, his former employer. It took the best part of a year before he finally made his mark on the football pitch.

Basel foundation

Schär’s outrageous 60-yard lob against FC Aarau in October 2011 went viral and less than 12 months later, he was signing on the dotted line at record Swiss champions Basel. Under Rot-Blauen legend Murat Yakin, the young centre-back capped his debut season with the club's fourth successive domestic title. He was even voted Swiss Young Player of the Year for good measure.

The Will native also impressed on the international stage as Switzerland made it as far as the last 16 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, but he chose to stay at Basel, where he collected another league crown in 2014/15. Sensing the time was ripe for change, Schär agreed to join the Bundesliga ranks on 4 June 2015.

Man for the big occasion

Much like his former Basel mentor, Yakin, Schär is confident on the ball, has an eye for a pass, can score goals, takes no prisoners in the challenge, is strong in the air and positions himself to defend with the nonchalance of a seasoned veteran.

What’s more, with 12 full international caps to his name and three seasons’ experience in the UEFA Champions League, he brings ample big-game know-how to the table for a Hoffenheim outfit that badly ran out of steam during the second half of 2014/15. Make no mistake, this piece of Swiss gold could be the man to lead die Kraichgauer into Europe for the first time in their history.