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Sports

New Crop of Brazilians in Bundesliga

Before the transfer window came to a close on Aug. 31, club directors were active: Bundesliga teams seeking to change their fortunes or improve already good starts hired young Brazilians in numbers.

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Rafinha is leading the charge of young blood from Brazil

Abuda, Kahe, Romulo and Rafinha: The names aren't as familiar as Ronaldo, Ronaldinho or new international superstar striker Robinho. The old Brazilian guard in the Bundesliga, Lucio, Marcelinho or Ze Roberto also may not be so acquainted with the youngsters. Yet a flurry of deals before the Aug. 31 transfer deadline has brought a slew of young Brazilians, predominantly forwards, to Germany.

Last year's league runners-up Schalke dug deepest and paid 5 million euros ($6.2 million) for their latest Brazilian player, 19-year-old Rafinha. Unlike the other three, Marcio Rafael Ferreira de Souza, short Rafinha, is a defender. Germany has already faced the 1.72 meter (5 foot 10 inch) back man, but not at the Confederations Cup, rather at the U-20 World Championships in Holland.

"Rafinha made a very good impression during the tournament," said Schalke general manager Rudi Assauer.

Like Bayern Munich's Lucio (photo), Rafinha is not shy of scoring goals.

Bundesliga 26. Spieltag Bayern München gegen Hansa Rostock

Similar to Bayern Munich's Lucio, Rafinha likes the joy of scoring a goal

"Like most Brazilian defenders he is strong going forward," team manager Andreas Müller added. "He's able to switch quickly from defense to attack, exert pressure down the flank and put in good crosses. He's also dangerous in front of the goal."

In 13 matches this season with his previous club Coritiba FC, he scored three times. And his extra-time winner knocked out the U-20 German side in June.

Forwards!

Borussia Mönchengladbach, already home to Brazilian striker Giovane Elber, found it necessary to help out their elder statesman (33) with the 23-year-old Kahe. The deal with top first-league Brazilian club Palmeiras Sao Paolo cost 1.2 million euros.

Fußball Bundesliga Stars FC Bayern München Giovane Elber

Giovane Elber during his stint with Bayern Munich. He is the Bundesliga's most successful goalscorer from abroad

"He is a physically robust, attacking striker, exactly the kind of player that's been missing in our offense," said club director Peter Pander.

Indeed Kahe's goal-scoring services are needed. In three Bundesliga matches so far, Gladbach have netted a paltry two goals and lie in 16th place in the standings.

Questio n marks

The other two Brazilian newcomers are big question marks, both to the league, and admittedly to team coaches.

Fußball Bundesliga Saison 2005/2006 Brasilianer in der Bundesliga Bildgalerie Abuda

Abuda in one of his first practice sessions with Wolfsburg

Adailiton Pereira Coelho, called Abuda, signed a contract until 2008 with Wolfsburg. Holger Fach called the signing a bit of an unknown quantity.

"But I have full faith in our chief scouts Ralph Kellermann and Ulil Mohr," the Wolfsburg coach said.

Decisive in the deal for Abuda, however, was the advice of former Wolfsburg player and Brazilian friend Fernando Baiano.

"Wolfsburg is not a foreign word to me," the 19-year-old striker said. "My mate Baiano only had nice things to say about the club."

The northern German town may not be foreign to him but many Brazilians criticize Abuda for being a little foreign in front of the net and wasting too many chances.

Mainz is looking to make up for their poor jump out of the starting blocks with Romulo. He's on loan for the remainder of the season from Brazilian second-league side Ituano. There he had scored six times in the current season.

"Romulo is comfortable with the ball and has a nose for the goal," said Mainz coach Jürgen Klopp about the 23-year-old.

Bundesliga fans are anxious to see if the new infusion of Brazilian blood will add a little bit of samba to German soccer.

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