Friendships formed in German football will have to be put to one side at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday, as former teammates face each other for the first time since their moves to England.
Town strikers Elias Kachunga, Collin Quaner and defender Florent Hadergjonaj played with Brighton’s Pascal Gross and Markus Suttner at FC Ingolstadt 04, with a combined total of 270 appearances for the German outfit.
Kachunga and Suttner signed for newly promoted Bundesliga side Ingolstadt in the summer of 2015 from SC Paderborn 07 and Austria Wien respectively, where they joined Gross who had helped his side to the Bundesliga 2 title the previous season.
The trio helped Ingolstadt to clubs highest ever finish of 11th during their first season playing together.
A campaign earlier, Quaner had moved away from the Audi Sportpark to sign for VfR Aalen.
But it was the Brighton’s attacking midfielder and left back who were key members of the squad during that season, with Kachunga more of a rotational striker having failed to hit the back of the net in his 10 appearances.
Despite his lack of goals during the 2015/16 season, Town head coach David Wagner saw something in the former Germany Under 21 international and signed him for the Terriers on a season-long loan with the option of a permanent transfer in June 2016.
In 2016, Wagner was quoted as saying: “I’m very happy to have Elias in our squad.
“It’s our aim to help him quickly get back to the level he had in Paderborn, where he was one of the highest-ranked young strikers in the Bundesliga in Germany.”
That summer, Ingolstadt signed full back Hadergjonaj from Swiss side Young Boys and he joined Gross and Suttner in the Bundesliga.
But following a bright start to life in Germany’s top-flight the season before, Ingolstadt were relegated last term.
After impressing during their two seasons in the Bundesliga both Gross and Suttner signed for Brighton during the summer as they built a squad for their first Premier League campaign.
Gross has made and impressive start to life on the south coast with three goals and five assists in his 15 appearances, but Suttner has failed to hold down a regular start place at left back having played only eight times.
Hadergjonaj signed for Town on a season-long loan in August, with Kachunga making his switch to the Terriers permanent for £1.1m in July.
Quaner, Hadergjonaj and Kachunga could all be in with a shout of starting against their former teammates this weekend, but with both teams looking for a first win in four matches, the Seagulls won’t be expecting the friendliest of welcomes!