Pavel Pardo made the leap across the Atlantic Ocean to the Bundesliga to become the first Mexican to play in the German top flight, and serve as a pioneer whose footsteps were followed by 'Chicharito' and Marco Fabian.

Pardo made his name in his home town of Guadalajara where he joined Atlas before moving across the city to Tecos for a year. He headed to the capital in early 1999 to join Club America where he won the 2006 CONCACAF Champions Cup, backing up with silverware the quality Stuttgart had seen in him playing for his country at the 2005 Confederations Cup and at the World Cup in Germany the following year.

He was not the only one to have impressed. Ahead of the 2006/07 season, he and compatriot Ricardo Osorio jetted off on the adventure that would lead them to the Bundesliga title less than 12 months later.

Pardo at the training ground of his former club, Club America. © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

Ninth the previous season, few if any tipped the Swabians to be title challengers, but with Pardo, who was nearly 30 and with a century of international caps to his name when he joined, pulling strings cleverly in midfield, Armin Veh's young side excelled.

Thanks in large part to 'El Commandante', who missed just one league game all season, Stuttgart produced a late charge for the line that saw them claim the title by two points from Schalke.

It could all have gone badly wrong on the final day of the campaign though. Stuttgart, who had gone top of the table for the first time the previous week, went behind early against Energie Cottbus whilst Schalke were already 2-0 up against Arminia Bielefeld, leaving the Royal Blues champions provisionally.

Pardo (left) and Osorio (far right) celebrate Stuttgart's title win. © gettyimages / Lars Baron

Drawing on his experience, Pardo played a central role in warding off disaster. His inch-perfect corner was smashed home spectacularly by Thomas Hitzlsperger before Sami Khedira scored the winner to earn VfB the fifth league title of their history.

Pardo, who recorded eight assists but just one league goal all season, scored in the DFB Cup final a week later. He held his nerve to net a penalty and take the game into extra-time before Stuttgart, who had played with ten men since Cacau's 30th-minute red card, finally succumbed 3-2 to Nuremberg.

Pardo didn't get many opportunities to celebrate goals, but when he did... © gettyimages / Martin Rose

After two and a half years and 71 Bundesliga appearances, Pardo went full circle, returning to Club America in early 2009 before finishing his career in 2013 after a two-year spell at Bastian Schweinsteiger's new club, Chicago Fire.

Pardo made 145 appearances for his country, second only to Claudio Suarez on the all-time list, and helped them win the 1999 Confederations Cup and the 1998 and 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cups. He also played at the 1998 World Cup in France as well as the 2006 tournament, reaching the Last 16 both times.

Since Pardo and Osorio's stint in the Bundesliga, five other Mexicans have played in Germany's top flight, including two currently, 'Chicharito' of Leverkusen and Eintracht Frankfurt's Marco Fabian.