Bayer Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller credits the Bundesliga with influencing the style of Chile's national team and helping them be successful at the Copa America Centenario.
Chile booked a place in the tournament semifinals with a 7-0 thumping of Mexico on Saturday. Eduardo Vargas, who plays for Hoffenheim, scored four goals, while Edson Puch scored twice. Alexis Sanchez did his bit as well, by scoring one goal and adding two assists.
Voller, the former German national team legend, said that having key players on Chile's team gain Bundesliga experience has contributed to Chile's aggressive style on the pitch.
"Chile showed their incredible game and did the unthinkable to Mexico," Voller told Chile newspaper Emol. "If they continue like this, they are the clear favorites to win the Copa America Centenario."
He singled out Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal, Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Charles Aranguiz and former Hamburg midfielder Marcelo Diaz, who now plays in Spain for Celta Vigo, as difference-makers to Juan Antonio Pizzi's team.
Voller initially scouted Vidal, bringing him abroad for the first time to Leverkusen in 2007 for four seasons.
"We noticed how talented Chile players were just in time when we contracted Vidal in 2007," Voller said. "They have shown that they can play in any league in the world and that they can perform in the Bundesliga, which is among the top three leagues in the world."
Last year, Chile used their home-field advantage and a core of Sanchez, Vidal, Vargas and Gary Medel to win their first ever Copa America title.
- Selección Chilena (@LaRoja) June 20, 2016
"The Chilean players make the Bundesliga an even stronger and more attractive league," Voller said. "At the same time, those players benefit from the Bundesliga because they have more versatility on the pitch. Their time [in Germany] has been a key step in their development to play with the aggressiveness they show. Chile have a very aggressive style that is recognised throughout the world."
Defender Gonzalo Jara played last season with Mainz.
Voller said Aranguiz has fully recovered from the initial injury he suffered upon arriving at Leverkusen.
"Aranguiz is a great player who is fast, technical and has endurance," Voller said. "Charles is very versatile. Here at Leverkusen, we brought him in to play at defensive midfielder and now in the United States he is showing his talent by executing well turned passes and he has been very precise with his tactics. His sharp play has resulted in goals. We are very happy that he is with us, he is a distinguished player."