The German leagues have been quite the proving ground for Canadian players, with many past and present internationals cutting their teeth in the tough environment.
With the good comes the bad, and this most recent weekend definitely falls into the latter category for most of the Canadians plying their trade in the first and second Bundesligas.
In the top tier, both Kevin McKenna and Marcel de Jong were on the wrong end of blowouts.
McKenna’s FC Köln were throttled 3-0 by host Hertha BSC on Sunday, with the big Canadian defender going 90 minutes in the losing cause. Adding insult to injury, McKenna picked up a knock in the match and was forced to withdraw from participating in Canada’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against St. Lucia and Puerto Rico.
De Jong’s side, FC Augsburg, did no better, falling to Borussia Dortmund by an embarrassing 4-0 scoreline. As with McKenna, de Jong was also injured in the match, although he had to leave the game in the 23rd minute after colliding with an opposing player.
Down in the 2.Bundesliga, Adam Straith watched from the bench on Saturday as his team, FC Energie Cottbus, were easily disposed of by visiting St. Pauli, 4-1. Cottbus are now winless in five.
Also riding the pine was Rob Friend, whose Eintracht Frankfurt were at least victorious, defeating Union Berlin 3-1 on Friday. Eintracht Frankfurt are second in the 2.Bundesliga, just one point behind SpVgg Greuther Fürth.
Speaking of which, Greuther Fürth maintained their slim lead atop the table with a 2-2 draw away to Karlsruher SC on Sunday. Striker Olivier Occean went 90 minutes for Fürth, although he was not among the goal scorers.
Over in England, Simeon Jackson finally returned to the pitch for Norwich City on Saturday after struggling to make the gameday roster in recent weeks. It was a tough task for the 24-year-old forward, who subbed on at the 73rd minute with Norwich eventually losing 2-0 to Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Jackson did not get himself on the scoresheet, of course, but he did look threatening in his limited minutes, setting up a teammate who couldn’t do anything with the nice pass.
Elsewhere in the Premier League, David “Junior” Hoilett and Blackburn Rovers were held scoreless by visiting Manchester City, who stormed Ewood Park for a 4-0 victory. Hoilett played his customary 90 minutes on the wing, although he couldn’t create much against the overwhelming City pressure.
Blackburn are in major trouble in the standings, having only collected four points from their first seven EPL fixtures.
Down a level in the English Championship, versatile defender David Edgar continued to solidify his place on the Burnley backline, going the distance in Saturday's 1-0 away win at Millwall. After hardly earning any minutes in the early part of the season, Edgar looks to have become a stalwart in an improving Burnley side who are undefeated in four matches across all competitions.
In League One, red-hot Preston North End were finally stopped over the weekend, dropping a 2-1 decision on the road to Leyton Orient. Striker Iain Hume logged 90 minutes for Preston, whose six-match league winning streak came to an end.
Staying in the English third tier, on-loan defender Jaime Peters was in the starting lineup for AFC Bournemouth, who battled to a scoreless draw with hosts Tranmere Rovers. Peters picked up a first-half yellow card in the match, his second game with the club since moving from Ipswich Town.
Up north in the Scottish Premier League, attacker Marcus Haber saw more “garbage time” minutes for St. Johnstone, subbing in with five minutes to go in the Saints’ 2-1 win over Kilmarnock. St. Johnstone are fifth on the SPL table, only three points behind third-place Celtic.
Over in Scandinavia, Chris Pozniak started and played the first 45 minutes for Haugesund in a 1-1 draw with Viking in Norway’s Tippeligaen. Pozniak was subbed out at halftime after having received a caution early in the match.
Sunday saw goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld backstop Vålerenga to a 4-1 away win at Brann. With the victory, Vålerenga leapfrogged their hosts into fourth place in the Norwegian top flight.
Next door in Sweden, goalkeeper Kenny Stamatopoulos was between the posts for AIK in a 2-1 win over visitors GAIS. AIK sit third in the Swedish Allsvenskan.
In neighboring Finland, young netminder Tomer Chencinski earned himself a clean sheet, manning the nets for VPS in a 1-0 win over Jaro in Veikkausliiga action.
On the losing end were Mason Trafford and Luca Bellisomo, whose club IFK Mariehamn were downed 2-0 by league leaders HJK. Trafford played the full game while Bellisomo went 79 minutes.
Riley O’Neill also saw Veikkausliiga action on Monday, going 90 minutes at striker for MyPa in a 2-0 victory over Haka.
Also victorious in the Finnish top league were Frank Jonke’s Inter Turku, who romped to a 6-2 win versus bottom feeders RoPS. Jonke started and played just under 70 minutes.
In Finland’s second division, forward Randy Edwini-Bonsu scored the lone goal for AC Oulu, who settled for a 1-1 draw at Jippo. Edwini-Bonsu has 16 goals in the Ykkönen this season, putting him second on the league scoring chart.
Meanwhile in Denmark, Patrice Bernier and Lyngby BK dropped their latest Superliga match 1-0 at Brøndby, with Bernier logging 90 minutes in the midfield for the losing side. Lyngby are currently in 11th place, with only seven points thus far in the campaign.