The Chicago Fire will celebrate German Heritage Night on Saturday, May 25, when the Men In Red welcome New York City FC to SeatGeek Stadium (2:30 p.m. CT | Univision, Twitter).
Fans in attendance can expect to see various German-themed elements added to their SeatGeek Stadium experience, including jumbotron video content with a few familiar faces, bratwursts available for purchase, and the grand opening of the new Heineken Beer Garden at Fire Fest.
Ahead of matchday, familiarize yourself with the Fire's former and current German fußballers and their respective routes to Chicago below.
Arne Friedrich, Defender
Signed: March 7, 2012
Retired: June 23, 2013
After a sterling career in the Bundesliga – primarily with Hertha Berlin – defender Arne Friedrich (pictured above) was signed by the Fire in March of 2012. He appeared 23 times (22 starts) during the 2012 regular season to help guide the Men In Red to the postseason, where he put in a 90 minute shift in a 2-1 Eastern Conference Wild Card round defeat to the Houston Dynamo. Friedrich was later named the team’s Defender of the Year for his efforts.
At the international level, Friedrich made 82 appearances for the German National Team, and played in both the 2006 and 2010 World Cups in which Germany finished in third place on each occasion. Friedrich’s only international goal was a memorable one, as he got an assist from Bastian Schweinsteiger to score the third goal in a 4-0 victory over Argentina in the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals.
Friedrich and Germany were also runners up to Spain in the 2008 European Championship.
Bastian Schweinsteiger, Midfielder/Defender
Signed: March 21, 2017
Nothing less than a legend at Bundesliga powerhouse FC Bayern Munich, Bastian Schweinsteiger arrived in Chicago to much fanfare in March of 2017.
In his first season with the Fire, Schweinsteiger captained the MLS All-Star Team and helped the Club reach the postseason for the first time since 2012. He’s since made 72 appearances (68 starts) for the Fire across all competitions. Schweinsteiger appeared 342 times for Bayern in a career with the club that spanned from 2002-2015. There, he won the Bundesliga eight times, the DFB Pokal seven times, and one UEFA Champions League title.
His club success consistently carried over to the German National Team, for which he earned 121 caps from 2004-2016. After finishing third place in the 2006 and 2010 World Cup tournaments, Schweinsteiger and Germany won the 2014 World Cup with the legend starting in midfield in a 1-0 final victory over Argentina.
Not to mention, the Fire traveled to Munich late last August to play Bayern Munich in a friendly match at Allianz Arena to honor the Fußballgott's career and accomplishments in Bavaria.
Fabian Herbers, Forward
Signed: Dec. 9, 2018
After a youth playing career in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Herbers made his way stateside to play collegiately at Creighton University. Herbers was drafted by the Philadelphia Union with the sixth overall selection in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. He made 53 appearances for the Fire’s Eastern Conference counterparts from 2016-2018 and scored four goals before being acquired by the Fire last December.
Herbers has so far made two appearances for the Fire in 2019, and scored his first Fire goal against the Seattle Sounders in a 4-2 defeat on March 16.
Kenneth Kronholm, Goalkeeper
Signed: May 7, 2019
The 33-year-old American-born goalkeeper spent 15 seasons playing professionally in Germany after beginning his career in Germany with VfL Wolfsburg II in 2004. After appearing for six different clubs across the German soccer landscape, Kronholm found a home in SV Elversberg. He made 74 appearances for the Saarland-based club from 2012-2014 before moving to Holstein Kiel. There, Kronholm helped Holstein Kiel earn promotion to the 2. Bundesliga and made 135 appearances for the side from 2014-2019 before his move to Chicago.
Kronholm has yet to appear for the Fire.