Albert Bunjaku (born 29 November 1983) is a Kosovar Albanian football player who plays for Erzgebirge Aue. He previously represented Switzerland (particularly at the 2010 FIFA World Cup), before switching to the newly formed Kosovo national football team for which he is the all-time top scorer.
Bunjaku at practice with 1. FC Nürnberg in 2010
|Full name||Albert Bunjaku|
|Date of birth||29 November 1983|
|Place of birth||Gjilani, SFR Yugoslavia|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|2000–2003||Young Fellows Juventus|
|2009–2012||1. FC Nürnberg||55||(14)|
|2012–2014||1. FC Kaiserslautern||31||(13)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 21:52, 31 July 2018 (UTC)|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 2016-10-02
When Bunjaku was eight years old, he moved with his mother and two brothers to Switzerland, where his father was already working. Bunjaku joined his first club at 13 – unusually late for a future professional. Before starting out with FC Schlieren, he only played football in the schoolyard or on the five-a-side court. At that stage he was also very keen on basketball.
Bunjaku's first step on the professional ladder was at FC Schaffhausen in the Challenge League, Switzerland's second division. The team won promotion to the Super League in 2003–04 and over the course of the next 18 months the young forward made 39 top-flight appearances.
In January 2006, the 23-year-old Bunjaku left Schaffhausen for 2. Bundesliga side SC Paderborn. His first staging post in Germany was destined to last just six months however, as he failed to establish himself under then-coach Jos Luhukay. "At the time I didn't have the feeling he was Bundesliga material", Luhukay says now. As a result, Bunjaku found himself unemployed in the summer of 2006.
Then however, a chance conversation turned Bunjaku's fortunes around. His wife Arieta worked in a boutique in Paderborn frequented by the wife of former Paderborn coach Pavel Dochev. They struck up a conversation and it transpired that Dotchev, now in charge of Rot-Weiß Erfurt, was on the lookout for a striker. No sooner said than done, and Bunjaku was on the move to third-division Erfurt.
He first came to the attention of the wider footballing public when Rot-Weiß Erfurt took on Bayern Munich in a DFB Cup tie on 10 August 2008. Coming on as a second-half substitute in what was Jürgen Klinsmann's competitive debut as Bayern coach, Bunjaku put two goals past the record champions, who eventually squeezed past their lower-league opponents 4–3.
On 14 November 2009, Bunjaku made his international debut for Switzerland in the 0–1 home loss to Norway in a friendly match after coming on as a substitute for Alexander Frei at half time. He was part of the Swiss squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, playing the last 13 minutes of the group match against Chile after coming on for Gelson Fernandes. Bunjaku played in Kosovo's first FIFA-approved match, against Haiti in a 0–0 home friendly on 5 March 2014. Bunjaku played for Kosovo against Turkey on 21 May 2014 and scored its first international goal.
- As of match played 3 June 2016. Kosovo score listed first, score column indicates score after each Bunjaku goal.
|1.||21 May 2014||Olympic Stadium Adem Jashari, Mitrovica, Kosovo||2||Turkey||1–2||1–6||Friendly|
|2.||25 May 2014||Stade de Genève, Genève, Switzerland||3||Senegal||1–1||1–3|
|3.||3 June 2016||Stadion am Bornheimer Hang, Frankfurt, Germany||4||Faroe Islands||1–0||2–0|