The Bundesliga is dancing to the tune of the Samba once again, with an array of Brazilian talent keeping fans entertained up and down Germany.
The German top flight has a rich tradition of gifted Brazilians, going back to the days of Paulo Rink and Marcio Amoroso through to Giovane Elber, Ailton and Lucio. When one of South America's hottest talents makes it big in Europe, it is often in the Bundesliga.
Ze Roberto to Douglas Costa
Douglas Costa is the latest fine example, treading in the same footsteps of Ze Roberto to bring the fun factor into FC Bayern München's game. It did not take long at all for the 25-year-old to show Bayern and Bundesliga fans what he is all about following his arrival from FC Shakhtar Donetsk in the summer.
Few were still left asking how long it would be for Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben to return from injury once they had caught a glimpse of the pace and skill combined of the Bavarians' new wing wizard.
It was pure delight from day one, Costa netting on his Bundesliga debut against Hamburger SV. Before injury brought a premature end to his 2015, he was averaging an assist per game in 12 outings for the record champions. "I already improved a lot at Bayern, and my dream would be to turn into one of the three best players in the world here," he said during the winter break, having convinced many already he has what it takes.
While Costa was arriving at Bayern last summer, Dante was leaving to form an all-Brazilian defence at VfL Wolfsburg, looking to emulate two of their precursors. Lucio and Juan held together one of the strongest Bayer 04 Leverkusen defences in history, in the years after Die Werkself finish runners-up in the Bundesliga, the Champions League and the DFB Cup in 2002.
Together with Naldo – one of the most experienced Brazilians in the Bundesliga – Dante is now forming a formidable partnership which has already helped the Wolves roar into the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League, at the expense of Manchester United FC no less.
Both share common attributes: upper-body strength, aerial dominance and a fine strike of the ball giving them an edge over your conventional central defenders.
Dante and Naldo are not the only notable Brazilians on the books at the Wolves, or 'Lobos' as they would be known back home. Another former Bayern star, Luiz Gustavo, has long since settled into a defensive midfield role performed to perfection by compatriot Josue between 2007 and 2013. As Wolfsburg captain, Josue was one of the architects behind the club's maiden Bundesliga triumph in 2009, and Lower Saxony was his only home in Germany.
Like many of his countrymen, he was made to feel welcome. "If a Brazilian moves to a German club, he is likely to find a fellow countryman there. This makes things easier," said Paulo Sergio, who struck a fine partnership at Bayern with Elber between 1999 and 2002, having previously spent four seasons with Leverkusen.
The pair were a sensation, helping Bayern to back-to-back league titles in 2000 and 2001, with Elber going on to win the Torjägerkanone in 2003 thanks to 33 of his 92 goals for Bayern. There was just one thing the pair "never got used to" in Germany, according to Sergio: "the weather."
That has not put anybody off, though. Even promoted FC Ingolstadt 04 have their Brazilians, Roger and Danilo Soares, while brothers Ronny (Hertha Berlin) and Raffael (Borussia Mönchengladbach) have made playing in the Bundesliga a family affair.
Current Bayern and former FC Schalke 04 defender Rafinha loved the Bundesliga so much, he came back for a second bite of the cherry after a spell in Italy. He is not the only Brazilian full-back in Germany's top flight either, with that role filled also by Junior Caicara at Schalke and Wendell at Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
The Bundesliga is a fertile breeding ground for Brazilian talent and the benefits are mutual as the Samba beat goes on.