Some listen to rap, others look to the heavens - Tony Yeboah used to snaffle a Yorkshire pudding - but what gets the juices of Werder Bremen loan signing Yuning Zhang flowing before a big game?

"I often have two or three pots of rice pudding with lots of sugar," the China international striker told German tabloid Bild. "I'd never had it before, but I can tell you now: I absolutely love it!"

Fuelled by one of Europe's favourite milk-based desserts, Zhang is flourishing at Bremen. The 20-year-old has already scored twice in Green-White colours during pre-season, a proverbial fly in the face of those who suggested his move was merely a marketing gimmick.

"People can say what they like," the West Brom loanee explained. "I'm very comfortable at Bremen and that’s all that counts. I'm happy to be here. I want to play as much as possible and score lots of goals. I’m ready for the Bundesliga!"

Zhang is pushing hard for a place in the Bremen first team. © imago

Zhang's encouraging performances in pre-season will go a long way to realising his goal of one day playing in the Bundesliga, but it is his eagerness to embrace all things German off the pitch that could make or break the former Vitesse Arnhem man's tenure at the Weser Stadium.

"I've had some German lessons," he explained in flawless English. "I can say 'Hello' and basic stuff like that. The pronunciation is the most difficult aspect of the language, but I'm learning. I get out and about, too. I'm getting my house in shape, so I've been shopping at Media Markt and Ikea."

With a new language to learn, flat packs to assemble and the Bundesliga the ultimate goal, it is all systems go for young Zhang. Hao Junmin (Schalke), Shao Jiayi (1860 Munich, Energie Cottbus) and Yang Chen (Eintracht Frankfurt) are the only Chinese players to have tasted Bundesliga football to date, but a fifth name could be about to join the party. Good news for Bremen, great news for Chinese football and a boon for rice pudding sales worldwide.

Chris Mayer-Lodge

Watch: China's Shao Jiayi is part of the Bundesliga Legends Network

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