From South Germany to Russia and back: two and a half years after leaving the Bundesliga, Serdar Tasci is now back in familiar surroundings.
Born in Esslingen am Neckar, Tasci took his first steps in the game at Stuttgarter Kickers, before spending 14 years with local powerhouses VfB Stuttgart just across the city. Now, at the age of 28 and with a successful sojourn at FC Spartak Moskva behind him, he is back just across the Baden-Württemberg-Bavaria border at FC Bayern München, where he is targeting a second Bundesliga winners' medal and much more besides.
His first came at the end of his maiden season as a professional in 2006/07. Tasci played 26 games in Stuttgart's stunning title triumph under Armin Veh, scoring two goals and winning over plenty of fans as he developed into a leader of the side, becoming club captain in 2012.
The leadership qualities seen in him by Stuttgart's then coach Bruno Labbadia will be more than welcome right now at Bayern, where injuries to Jerome Boateng, Medhi Benatia and Javier Martinez have opened a void for him to fill.
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He was a perfect - if last-minute - choice in view of the Reds' injury crisis, and with his experience - 14 caps for Germany and numerous appearances in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League - Bayern will certainly benefit from his arrival. A concussion suffered in training meant he missed out on making his debut at Bayer 04 Leverkusen last weekend, but he is back in training and will hope to be involved against FC Augsburg on Matchday 21.
The Reds are still eight points clear at the top of the Bundesliga table and resume their Champions League against Juventus on 23 February, and Tasci for one is now more than ready for the challenges ahead. "We want to win three trophies this season and I hope to be able to help the team with my qualities," said the centre-back after signing for the club last Tuesday. Welcome back to the Bundesliga, Serdar!