Wolfsburg Already Winning With Zhang Xizhe
Updated: Jun 10, 2019
Following in the footsteps of his fellow countrymen, talented midfielder Zhang Xizhe, 23, has been welcomed by Bundesliga’s Wolfsburg, no doubt in the hopes that he will help lead the team to future victory. He’s the eleventh Chinese player to join the Bundesliga and although currently the only active Chinese player, is unlikely to be the last. The growth of Chinese football combined with the display of Xizhe’s formidable talent will most likely increase demand for Chinese league players. Lauded for his physical and technical skill, Xizhe’s proficiency only continues to increase, making him a valuable addition to the Wolfsburg team.
Born in 1991, Xizhe began his career playing for the Beijing Guoan and has been successful in carving out a reputation as a goal-scorer and provider. On his debut in 2010 he scored and then went on to achieve a further 11 with 12 assists. In 2013 he scored his first goal against Singapore for the Chinese national team. In 2012, he was awarded the CFA’s Young Player of the Year Award. His move to the Bundesliga therefore, seems like the next logical step in his validation as an important player in the football arena.
Wolfsburg have had a solid run, keeping pace with the league leaders, however, they are a long way off reaching the same lofty heights as their 2009 championship performance. For now they appear content to aim for a place as one of the top four clubs in the Bundesliga. Indeed, with the addition of Xizhe, not to mention the significant amounts of financial investment by the Volkswagen Group, success is surely on the horizon.
The hashtag #ZhangXizheInTheBundesliga was created by the Bundesliga on Weibo and so far has over 29 million reads with over 1000 discussions in one night. Such is the interest in Xizhe that even China’s state broadcaster CCTV was due to screen his first press conference with an expected audience of somewhere between 40 and 50 million.
Xizhe is an unknown quantity outside China but the rise in popularity of football in China not to mention his undeniable talent as a player, will ensure that this does not remain the case for long. In 2012, a soccer training school was opened in Guangdong province, which by all accounts marked the beginning of China’s efforts to transform itself into a sporting powerhouse as well as an economic one. It’s hoped that in the future, China may even host the World Cup. Globally, China currently ranks quite low but if Xizhe is any indication, the future looks rosy for both Chinese football and the Bundesliga.