Canadian Exports: Occean powers Greuther Furth
Olivier Occean is showing no signs of cooling down.
His club side, SpVgg Greuther Fürth, were victorious in both the DFB-Pokal and the 2.Bundesliga over the past week, with Occean taking the lead in each of those wins.
Last Wednesday, Fürth faced off with top-tier side Hoffenheim in the German Cup quarterfinal stage, and it was Occean (above) with the heroics as he struck just before the halftime whistle to put his team up 1-0.
The Brossard, Quebec, native’s moment of individual brilliance – he brought down a high pass before beating a pair of defenders and slotting the ball into the far side – stood up as the game’s only goal, giving Greuther Fürth a berth in the semifinal next week.
Occean followed up his Cup performance with a goal and an assist in a 5-1 romp over SC Paderborn in league action three days later, a win that vaulted Fürth into second place in the 2.Bundesliga table. The 30-year-old now has 13 goals in all competitions.
Elsewhere in the German second tier, 21-year-old attacker Randy Edwini-Bonsu watched from the bench as his side Eintracht Braunschweig fought to a scoreless draw with Karlsruher SC last Saturday.
Also remaining on the sidelines was Rob Friend, whose club Eintracht Frankfurt drew 1-1 with Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Up in the Bundesliga, left back Marcel de Jong managed to get on the field in FC Augsburg’s 0-0 tie with FC Nürnberg, albeit briefly, as he was forced to leave the game in the eighth minute after suffering an ankle injury. The 25-year-old defender requires surgery and will be out an estimated 10 weeks.
Going injury-free was Kevin McKenna, who entered at the beginning of the second half for FC Köln in a 1-0 loss to Hamburger SV.
Over in England, the news was a bit more positive for the pair of Canadians playing in the Premier League. Simeon Jackson and Norwich City were big winners on Saturday, claiming a 3-2 victory at Swansea City.
Jackson started and played 83 minutes in the win, which saw Norwich move up to eighth in the EPL.
Also helping his side earn three points was Junior Hoilett, who started and went 50 minutes in Blackburn Rovers’ 3-2 win over QPR. The Canadian-born attacker was thought to have scored Blackburn’s third goal, but his tally was later judged to have been a QPR own-goal.
Down a rung in the nPower Championship, David Edgar went the full 90 in the Burnley backline in a 2-0 defeat to hosts Southampton. Burnley have slipped a bit in recent weeks, but are still within five points of a promotion playoff spot.
Across the border in Scotland, Marcus Haber subbed on for the final 15 minutes as St. Johnstone were thrashed 5-1 by visiting Dundee United. The Saints remain in fifth place in the SPL table.
Back on the continent, Atiba Hutchinson made his long-awaited return to Holland’s Eredivisie on Sunday, slotting in at right back for PSV Eindhoven and playing all 90 minutes in a 4-1 dismantling of cellar dwellers De Graafshap.
Over in Switzerland, Josh Simpson also made his return to the pitch, entering as a 67th-minute substitute for new club BSC Young Boys in a 1-0 win over FC Sion. Simpson transferred to Young Boys after terminating his contract with Turkish side Manisaspor over a salary dispute and couldn’t play for his new club until he gained clearance from FIFA.
Meanwhile back at Simpson’s former club, Mike Klukowski went the distance as Manisaspor fell 3-1 to Bursaspor. The loss was Manisaspor’s ninth in their last 13 games in the Süper Lig.