8.04.2020Bayer 04

Number 38 is 30: Happy birthday, Karim

Karim Bellarabi is not just known for his footballing ability. The Bayer 04 winger again and again puts his teammates and fans in a good mood with his likeable manner. The Werkself player, at Bayer 04 for the past eight years, is 30 today. For that reason, we take a look at eight facts about this record breaker…

Fact 1: African roots

Bellarabi was born in West Berlin on 8 April 1990. His mother is German, his father Moroccan and his stepfather comes from Ghana. Bellarabi has both German and Moroccan citizenship and he grew up in Bremen. As a teenager, he played for FC Huchting, Werder Bremen and FC Oberneuland.

Fact 2: First steps in professional football

Via the U19s at Eintracht Braunschweig, Bellarabi moved up to the first team squad at the Lower Saxony club. He made his professional debut in the third division on matchday 38 on 23 May 2009. Eintracht lost 2-0 at Regensburg.

Fact 3: The move to Leverkusen

Bellarabi signed for Leverkusen in the 2011/12 season. He made his first appearance in Black and Red against FC Köln on 17 September 2011. The then Bayer 04 coach Robin Dutt brought him on in place of Daniel Schwaab on 80 minutes. The Werkself lost the game 4-1.

Fact 4: Bellarabi's first goal

It finally came on 3 March 2012: Just eight minutes after coming on for André Schürrle, Bellarabi scored the second and winning goal against Bayern Munich on the 90th minute – his first goal in the Bundesliga. A few days later, on 7 March 2012, Bellarabi scored his first goal in the Champions League in added time in the second leg of the Round of 16 – the Werkself did lose the match 7-1 away to Barcelona.

Fact 5: Back to Lower Saxony

Bellarabi returned to Braunschweig on loan for the start of the 2013/14 season to get more match practice. The idea paid dividends: He scored three goals and provided five assists in 26 Bundesliga games. Braunschweig were relegated at the end of the season; Bellarabi returned to Leverkusen. He earned a regular berth in the following season to finally be established with the Black and Reds.

Fact 6: Record breaker

On 23 August 2014 in the first match day of the new season, Bellarabi scored the fastest ever goal in the Bundesliga: He opened the scoring at Borussia Dortmund after nine seconds and the Werkself ended up 2-0 winners. The record was equalled almost exactly a year later by one of his current Bayer 04 teammates: Kevin Volland, then playing for TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, opened the scoring against FC Bayern on 22 August 2015 – again after nine seconds. Bellarabi has also secured another top spot: "The opening goal against FC Augsburg on 17 February 2017 was the 50,000th goal in the history of the Bundesliga. His shirt from that match is a permanent exhibit in the German Football Museum in Dortmund.



Karim Bellarabi scores the 50,000th Bundesliga goal against FC Augsburg.

Fact 7: Swift as an arrow

One of Bellarabi's great strengths is his incredible pace. In 2016/17, he was faster than any other player in Germany's top flight with a measured top speed of 35.27 km/h and he also possesses extraordinary stamina. The Werkself completed a stamina test in Orlando during preparations for the second half of the 2016/17 season. In one drill, players had to drop out because they had not completed the distance required in the set time. The last man standing, or in this case the last man running, was – Karim Bellarabi.

Fact 8: New hobby on the decks

Bellarabi has apparently discovered a new hobby during the coronavirus pandemic. In a recent post on his Instagram account, he published a video of himself as a DJ – and he showed what he could do on the turntables. A true all-rounder.



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