All Rob Friend needed was a change of scenery.
After struggling to make the bench at Hertha BSC, the hulking striker made a deadline day move to Eintracht Frankfurt of the 2.Bundesliga, looking to get more playing time and rediscover the form that has kept him in the German leagues for a number of years.
This past Saturday, Friend started for his new club, and after Eintracht had fallen behind hosts FC Energie Cottbus 2-0, the Canadian found himself wide open in front of the Cottbus goal and made no mistake, heading home the first of his team’s three goals in what ended up a 3-3 draw.
Friend went 90 minutes and also picked up a late caution for his efforts, while fellow Canuck Adam Straith got into the match at the 62nd minute for Energie Cottbus.
Elsewhere in the 2.Bundesliga, Olivier Occean and league leaders SpVgg Greuther Fürth maintained their place at the top of the standings with a 2-1 win over MSV Duisburg. Although the striker did not add to his goal total, he was very active in the attack. His shot off the post was pounced on by a teammate for the opening marker, and he caused a few scares for the Duisburg defense throughout his 90 minutes of work.
Up in the German top flight, defender Kevin McKenna saw some garbage time for 1. FC Köln over the weekend, coming on in the 82nd minute of Köln’s 2-1 loss to visiting Nürnberg.
Meanwhile, Marcel de Jong sat out of FC Augsburg’s 4-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen last Friday. De Jong is nursing a knee sprain suffered late last month.
Over in Turkey, Josh Simpson picked up right where he left off from last season, scoring a dramatic 88th-minute equalizer to propel Manisaspor to a 1-1 draw with Trabzonspor in the first weekend of the 2011-12 Süper Lig campaign.
After having logged a lot of miles playing for Canada's national side a few days previous, Simpson started on the bench for Manisaspor and entered the match at halftime. International teammate Mike Klukowski played the entire match for Manisaspor, having joined Simpson at the club over the summer.
Another Canadian taking part in the Turkish Süper Lig opening weekend was goalkeeper Milan Borjan, who went the full distance in the nets for his new club Sivasspor. The 23-year-old allowed two goals as Sivssapor fell 2-1 to home side Karabükspor.
Half a continent away in England, David “Junior” Hoilett set up Blackburn’s lone goal in Rovers’ 1-1 deadlock with Fulham. The 21-year-old starlet played the match on the left wing, and in the 32nd minute he floated a perfect cross for teammate Rubén Rochina to nod into the Fulham goal.
Hoilett had a scary moment in stoppage time, when he collided with Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and had to leave the match with concussion-like symptoms.
In Norwich, striker Simeon Jackson was again nailed to the bench as his Canaries were blanked 1-0 at home by West Bromwich Albion on Sunday. Jackson has yet to start for Norwich City, having made only one appearance off the bench in four Premier League matches so far.
Down a division, David Edgar started and played 90 minutes at right back for Burnley in a 2-0 loss to Middlesborough. Burnley are 20th in the Championship after five rounds.
Another Canadian right back, Jaime Peters of Ipswich Town, was nowhere to be seen as Ipswich dropped a 2-0 decision at Blackpool. After making 23 appearances for the Tractor Boys last season, Peters has not even made the bench so far in the current Championship campaign.
Another level down, striker Iain Hume returned to Preston North End only three days after playing 90 minutes (and scoring) for Canada in Puerto Rico. Last Friday, Hume started and went 76 minutes for PNE, assisting on his team’s second goal in a 4-2 victory over Yeovil Town. Hume then sat out of Preston’s 2-0 Carling Cup win vs. League One leaders Charlton Athletic on Tuesday.
Across the North Sea in the Netherlands, Atiba Hutchinson was held out of PSV Eindhoven’s 3-3 Eredivisie draw at VVV Venlo. Hutchinson is still regaining fitness after offseason knee surgery, and had a minor setback while with the national team.
In the second tier Eerste Divisie, Andrew Ornoch went 73 minutes in the midfield for Telstar in their 3-1 victory over Almere City last Friday. Ornoch picked up a yellow card in the 68th minute.
Meanwhile, in nearby Denmark, veteran Patrice Bernier played 90 minutes for Lyngby BK in their 1-0 Superliga loss to FC København. Lyngby are mired on four points after eight games.
Next door in Norway, goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld backstopped Vålerenga to a 2-1 win over IK Start in Tippeligaen action. Vålerenga are eighth in the league, but a congested table sees them only seven points behind second-place Tromsø.
Chris Pozniak’s Haugesund also had a successful weekend in the Tippeligaen, prevailing 2-0 over visitors Lillestrøm. Pozniak subbed in in the 72nd minute, helping to lock down the victory for the home side.
Elsewhere in Scandinavia, five Canadians were active in Finland’s top division, with varying degrees of success.
On the losing side of the ledger, Riley O’Neill’s MyPa got trounced 4-0 by JJK. O’Neill started and played the full 90 minutes in the losing effort.
Also on the losing end over the weekend were Frank Jonke and Inter Turku, who fell 2-1 at KuPS last Friday. Jonke entered the match just after the hour mark. Monday was a little kinder to Inter Turku, as they drew 2-2 at home to Honka. Jonke played 90 minutes up top in that one.
On the winning side were midfielfer Mason Trafford and defender Luca Bellisomo, whose club IFK Mariehamn were big winners in a 5-2 decision over ROPS. Trafford and Bellisomo both went the distance for Mariehamn, who are seventh in the Veikkausliiga.
Also victorious were VPS, who won 3-2 over TPS. Goalkeeper Tomer Chencinski backstopped VPS to the victory in his 19th appearance for the club this season.
Finally, Randy Edwini-Bonsu nabbed a hat-trick for AC Oulu in a 7-0 drubbing of league bottom-feeders Espoo in the second-tier Ykkönen. Edwini-Bonsu now has 10 goals in 15 appearances for Oulu.