Cologne - Three games into his second Bundesliga tour of duty, Arturo Vidal is gearing up for a double-quick reunion with an old acquaintance when FC Bayern München play host to Bayer 04 Leverkusen in this weekend's top match. Leverkusen was the then 20-year-old Vidal's first European stop-off on his way to the very top, but the Chile international midfielder is unlikely to be dwelling mistily on times past come kick-off at the Allianz Arena on Saturday evening (18:30 CEST).
Neither would his new employers expect him to. Signed within two weeks of Bastian Schweinsteiger's departure for Manchester United, Vidal has a style similar to that of the record champions' club icon in some respects but in others, he is indisputably his own man.
Despite Bayern having wrapped up a third straight league title with something to spare, sporting director Matthias Sammer acknowledged specific shortcomings had been identified within the team, which the new arrival is best equipped to help start addressing.
Enticed away from Juventus FC, who won four Serie A titles in a row with him as their midfield enforcer, Vidal now has the opportunity to help Bayern replicate the feat – one never before achieved in the Bundesliga, by themselves or anyone else. For their new number 23 it would also be a first, the runners-up spot behind Borussia Dortmund in 2011 being the closest he came in his four years at Leverkusen.
That same summer, on the back of a personal campaign that saw him score ten goals and lay on another nine, he made the switch from the right bank of the Rhine to Turin – although not before seriously considering an extension of his working relationship with head coach Jupp Heynckes, who was then in the process of swapping Bayer for Bayern.