Less than two years after he was booted by Sydney FC and the A-League, Australian footballer George Timotheou has made his Bundesliga debut.
Timotheou was plucked from NSW premier league by German side Schalke 04 and has impressed since arriving at the 15th richest football club in the world last July.
The 21-year-old defender played a full game in their scoreless draw with Stuttgart on Sunday, making three tackles, three clearances, an interception and a block.
Schalke finished 14th in the Bundesliga this season and Timotheou has a year to run on his contract.
The Canberra export was axed before playing a first-team game for the Sky Blues but has delivered on his promise overcome the adversity.
"It was tough but I think it was a good test of my character in the sense that it pushes you even more. If you want to put in the work, you'll get something out it," Timotheou said after signing with Schalke 04 last year.
"If I didn't choose to do extras at training and go to the gym every morning, I don't think I would have got this opportunity.
"There were definitely dark times where you ask 'Why is this happening to me' and you victimise yourself, which isn't the greatest attitude but that's where I was very strong mentally.
"I pushed past that and sometimes it's a good test of yourself to see how far you can push yourself. I thought 'If I can get through this then nothing is going to stop me'."