Mavraj with Greuther Fürth in 2012.
|Full name||Mërgim Mustafë Mavraj|
|Date of birth||9 June 1986|
|Place of birth||Hanau, West Germany|
|Height||1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|2003–2004||SG Rosenhöhe Offenbach|
|2007–2008||VfL Bochum II||8||(1)|
|2015||FC Köln II||4||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22:38, 29 May 2017 (UTC).
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 11 June 2017
- 1 Club career
- 2 International career
- 3 Career statistics
- 4 Honours
- 5 Personal life
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Mavraj was born in Hanau, West Germany to ethnic Albanian parents from Istok, Kosovo. He joined his first club, Sportfreunde Seligenstadt in 1996 before joining Kickers Offenbach in 1997, where he stayed for six years until 2003. He spent the 2003–04 season at SG Rosenhöhe Offenbach before joining SV Darmstadt 98, where he played for the under-19 side for the 2004–05 campaign. He became a key member of the U-19s, starting in 23 league games and scoring three goals in the process, but his side finished bottom of the table with just four wins in 26 games all season.
He was promoted to the senior SV Darmstadt 98 side during the 2005–06 season, making his professional debut on 18 March 2006 against SC Pfullendorf in the Fußball-Regionalliga Süd. He started the game in defence, but was sent off in the 51st minute after receiving his second yellow card in the 3–1 away loss. In total during the 2005–06 season he made 13 appearances and scored two goals, helping his side finish fifth in the league. The next season would be his first as a professional footballer, where he played in 25 league games without scoring. His strong performances in the first half of the season did not go unnoticed as he was called up by Germany U-21 coach Dieter Eilts for a friendly against Italy in February 2007. The 2006–07 season was a memorable one for Mavraj despite his side finished the campaign 16th in the table.
On 1 August 2007, signed to VfL Bochum for 350,000 € and joined to reserve team that then played at Oberliga Westfalen. On 10 May 2008, he made his debut in the first at the 3-1 victory against Karlsruhe. A week later, managed to record another show of which also scored the team in his debut at the 1-2 loss to Hansa Rostock, at the reserve is made 7 appearances and scored one and promoted with the club to Regionalliga West. At 2008–09 season, his status at the first team improved and he made 23 appearances and helped his team to stay in the Bundesliga.
On 23 January 2011, Mavraj signed to SpVgg Greuther Fürth for 200,000 €. On 29 January 2011 he made his debut at the 2-2 draw against Alemannia Aachen at New Tivoli stadium, coming on as a substitute for Stephan Schröck in the 90th minute. On 2 October 2011 he scored his debut goal for Greuther Fürth at the 2-2 draw against Karlsruhe at the 91st of the game. At the 2011–12 season's end, Greuther Fürth got promoted to the Bundesliga.
On 7 August 2012, Mavraj took over from central defensive partner Thomas Kleine as the team captain for the 2012–13 Bundesliga season. He was elected captain by his teammates in a secret ballot, finishing ahead of Thomas Kleine, Gerald Asamoah, Stephan Fürstner and Milorad Peković.
On 3 March 2014 Mavraj scored the victory goal for his team against FSV Frankfurt and Greuther Fürth managed to win three gold points that keep the race for the return to the Bundesliga. The match came from behind two times, as the home team managed to score the opening goal in the tenth minute with Niko Gießelmann, then Frankfurt jumped in attack and managed to overthrow Greuther Fürth in the final minutes of the first-half, where it was Denis Epstein, who scored the equalizer with a penalty, and later was the fellow Albanian national striker Edmond Kapllani who managed to stop the ball in the net. Over minutes Greuther Fürth managed to make balance exactly from the penalty, and then Mavraj managed to score in the 87th minute the winning goal for his team.
Greuther Fürth finished third in the 2013–14 2. Bundesliga, advancing to the play-off promotion with Hamburger SV as the 16th position of the Bundesliga. They played in a two-legged game, were the first leg match played in Hamburg ended in a goalless draw with Mavraj playing the full 90-minutes and the second-leg match finishing in the 1–1 draw with Mavraj playing another full 90-minute match, as the both-legged match finished 1–1 on the aggregate with Greuther Fürth losing on away goals rule. Mavraj finished the season with a total of 30 appearances including one match played in the DFB-Pokal.
1. FC Köln
Mavraj had declared early that if Greuther Fürth didn't win promotion to the Bundesliga for the next season, he would leave the club after his contract had expired on 30 June 2014 and on 19 May 2014, 2. Bundesliga winners and thus just recently to the Bundesliga promoted, 1. FC Köln declared that had signed Mavraj on a three-year contract until 30 June 2017.
On 19 December 2015, Mavraj returned to the football fields after seven months abstence, playing the last minutes of the 2–1 triumph over Borussia Dortmund in league. That was his 100th Bundesliga appearance.
Mavraj was eligible to play for Albania because his parents are ethnic Albanians from Kosovo. He started applying for the Albanian citizenship in September 2006 along with Besart Berisha, following the recommendations of Hans-Peter Briegel before he resigned from his role as the manager of the Albanian national team. Mavraj got involved for the first time with Albania in 2006 at the age of 19 in a crowding with young talent players by FSHF and the Albania national football team's coach Otto Barić which rated him well and asked to give him the Albanian passport. Then he called up from Albania national under-21 football team but he refused as he wanted directly the senior team., feeling undervalued by the FSHF.
Following his refusal to represent Albania in February 2007, he received German citizenship later the same month and immediately joined the German U-21 national team. He made his debut for the U-21 side on 21 February 2007 against Italy in a friendly, coming on as a 67th-minute substitute for Torben Joneleit in the goalless draw. Following his debut for Germany U-21, he had trouble breaking into the team and did not feature again for over two years. His next and final game for Germany U-21 came on 31 March 2012 against Belarus in 1–1 draw, with Mavraj playing the full game at centre back.
Albania national team
FSHF gave Mavraj a chance to play international football at a senior level by permitting the Albanian manager at the time Josip Kuže to call him up for a friendly in Tirana against Northern Ireland on 3 March 2010. This was his first senior international call up, and one which he accepted. However, just one day prior to the team meeting up to begin preparing for the game Mavraj backed down and did not show up, much to the dislike of the FSHF and the Albanian fans, who accused him of being a traitor for rejecting Albania twice. Mavraj himself however rejected this notion of rejecting Albania, stating that he asked for more time to decide on his international future, nonetheless the FSHF admitted that Mavraj would never be allowed to play for Albania in the future.
The sudden change of mind regarding his international call up was reportedly due to a conversation he had on the phone with Matthias Sammer, who was technical director of the German Football Association at the time. Sammer told Mavraj that he may have a future with the German national team and that he old be considered for an invitation to the senior side after the 2010 FIFA World Cup. However, following difficulties at club level with VfL Bochum and relegation to the 2. Bundesliga at the end of the 2009–10 season, his dream of playing for Germany had become highly unrealistic.
Following good performances with new club Greuther Fürth he grabbed the attention of the FSHF for a third time, this time more reluctantly as Albania were in need of a quality defender. Despite making it clear that he would never play for Albania, the FSHF opened the door to Mavraj once again. He publicly announced in 2012, that he would make himself available for selection by the national team, which Gianni De Biasi did for friendlies against Qatar and Iran.
FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifiers
He made it his first official debut for Albania on 7 September 2012 in the opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification Group E against Cyprus, playing full 90-minutes match, which finished in the home 3–1 victory.
UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers
Mavraj started another qualification campaign, the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers, as on 7 September 2014 he played a full 90-minutes match in the 0–1 away victory against Portugal. He made it a good performance in this opening match of the qualifiers and was included in the best eleven team of the first round matches of the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying.
On 14 November 2014 Mavraj scored his second goal for Albania during the "Group I" centralised-Friendly Match against the Euro 2016 hosts, France. Mavraj scored the opening goal in the 40th minute after an assist by Elseid Hysaj. Its goal was equaled and the match finished in the 1–1 draw.
On 21 May 2016, Mavraj was named in Albania's preliminary 27-man squad for UEFA Euro 2016, and in Albania's final 23-man UEFA Euro squad on 31 May. On 28 May, he capitained his side for the first time during the Euro 2016 warm-up match against Qatar, which ended in a 3–1 win, becoming the youngest ever captain.
Mavraj played every minute of all Group A matches as Albania were eliminated by ranking in the 3rd place behind hosts France against which they lost 2–0 and Switzerland against which they also lost 1–0 in the opening match and ahead of Romania by beating them 1–0 in the closing match with a goal by Armando Sadiku. Albania finished the group in the third position with three points and with a goal difference –2, and was ranked last in the third-placed teams, which eventually eliminated them.
- Scores and results list Albania's goal tally first.
|1||8 June 2014||Serravalle Stadium, Serravalle, San Marino||17||San Marino||1–0||3–0||Friendly match|||
|2||14 November 2014||Stade de la Route de Lorient, Rennes, France||21||France||1–0||1–0||Friendly match|||
|3||29 March 2015||Elbasan Arena, Elbasan, Albania||23||Armenia||1–1||2–1||Euro 2016 qualifying|||
|Club||Season||League country||League||League Cup||Europe||Other||Total|
|Darmstadt 98||2005–06||Regionalliga Süd||13||2||—||—||—||13||2|
|VfL Bochum II||2007–08||Oberliga Westfalen||7||1||—||—||—||7||1|
|SpVgg Greuther Fürth||2010–11||2. Bundesliga||13||0||—||—||—||13||0|
|FC Köln II||2015–16||Regionalliga West||4||0||—||—||—||4||0|
|Albania national team|
- Greuther Fürth
- Kush ishte babai i Mërgim Mavrajt? - Lajmet e fundit nga sporti Gazeta Express
- "Mavraj kommt sofort" [Mavraj is coming immediately] (in German). DFL. 19 January 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
- Yjet e Istogut K.F. Istogu "Mërgim Mavraj - Greuther Fürth: Mërgim Mavraj është lojtarë me origjinë nga Istogu, prindërit i ka nga Saradrani i Istogut. U lind më 9 Qershor 1986 në Hanau."
- "Erfolgreiche Premiere für Kapitän Mavraj" (in German). focus.de. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
- "Mavraj ich danke dem lieben Gott!" (in German). bild.de. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
- "Shënon sërish Kapllani, Mavraj i rrëmben festën" (in Albanian). Sporti Shqiptar. 3 March 2014. Archived from the original on 6 March 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- "Summary - 2. Bundesliga - Germany - Results, fixtures, tables and news". Soccerway. 31 March 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- "Hamburger SV vs. Greuther Fürth 0 – 0". Soccerway. 15 May 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- "Greuther Fürth vs. Hamburger SV 1 – 1". Soccerway. 18 May 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- "Mavraj: Kjo, ndeshja ime e fundit me Furth" (in Albanian). Panorama Sport. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- "Mergim Mavraj wechselt zum FC" [Mergim Mavraj moves to the FC] (in German). 1. FC Köln. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
- "Shënojnë Memushaj dhe Berisha, rikthehet Mavraj" (in Albanian). Panorama Sport. 19 December 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
- HSV-Neuzugang Mergim Mavraj: "Ich identifiziere mich voll mit dieser Aufgabe!": HSV.de
- Mavraj te Hamburgu: Jam në një klub me histori SuperSport
- "Mavraj: E vërteta e refuzimit Shqipërisë më 2007" (in Albanian). Gazeta Tema. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- "U21 Statistik: Deutschland – Italien" (in German). Deutscher Fußball-Bund. 21 February 2007. Retrieved 26 December 2009.
- "U21 Statistik: Deutschland – Weißrussland" (in German). Deutscher Fußball-Bund. 31 March 2009. Retrieved 26 December 2009.
- Christian Horcher Personenprofil DFB - Deutscher Fußball-Bund e.V.
- "Mergim Mavraj në Kombëtare kundër Irlandës së Veriut" (in Albanian). Yll Press. 12 February 2010. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- "Lajme: Mavraj i habitur per irritimin e tifozeve shqiptare" (in Albanian). FutbolliShqiptar.net. 12 March 2010. Archived from the original on 11 September 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- "FSHF me rregull të ri: Kush refuzon një herë, përjashtohet nga Kombëtarja!" (in Albanian). aSport.al. 25 March 2010. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- Altin Manallari (18 May 2012). "Shpallet lista e Kombëtares, De Biazi sjell pesë surpriza" (in Albanian). Gazeta SHQIP. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- "Shqipëria e nis mbarë, golat vijnë nga stoli" (in Albanian). Time.al. 7 September 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2014.
- "Shqipëria ia gjen hallin San Marinos, e mposht 3:0 (VIDEO)" (in Albanian). Gazeta Express. 8 June 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
- ""Bekim" kuqezi në Aveiro, Shqipëria shokon Portugalinë" (in Albanian). Panorama Sport. 7 September 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
- "Euro 2016 Team of the Week: Lewandowski & Muller unstoppable as Albania make their mark". Goal.com. 10 September 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- "France vs. Albania 1 – 1". Soccerway. 14 November 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- "Çfarë Shqipërie e bukur, "flirton" me fitoren brenda në Francë" (in Albanian). Panorama Sport. 15 November 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- "Vlerësimi i medias franceze: Mavraj e Lenjani, më të mirët" (in Albanian). Panorama Sport. 15 November 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- Fatjon Pandovski (21 May 2016). "De Biasi leaves out Albanian top scorer Salihi". UEFA. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
- "De Biasi shpall listën zyrtare të Euro 2016". FSHF.org. 31 May 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
- "Albania rally to quell Qatar". UEFA. 29 May 2016. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
- UEFA EURO 2016 - Albania - Matches UEFA.com
- "Albania out of Euro 2016 after Portugal draw with Hungary". Fourfourtwo.com. 22 June 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
- "Mergim Mavraj - national football team player". EU-Football.info. 31 March 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- "San Marino vs. Albania 0 – 3". Soccerway. 8 June 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- "France vs. Albania 1 – 1". Soccerway. 14 November 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- "Albania vs. Armenia 2 – 1". Soccerway. 29 March 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- Mërgim Mavraj at Soccerway
- Mërgim Mavraj at National-Football-Teams.com
- Google Translate