Matt Oldfield

VfL Wolfsburg were very much the surprise package in last season’s Bundesliga, finishing two points ahead of European giants Bayern Munich to seal their first ever league title and secure their first ever participation in the Champions League. Last year’s coach Felix Magath has moved on to try his luck at underachievers Schalke, but the Wolves still have more than enough confidence and talent to create an upset or two in this campaign. Central to that will surely be 23-year-old Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko, a man Wolfsburg have done well to hold on to given a summer of rumour and big club interest.

Dzeko started his career in his native Bosnia in 2003 before moving to Czech side FK Teplice in 2005 for the princely sum of just €80,000. In Czech football the new boy soon began to develop into a top class goalscorer, and foreign scouts began to take notice. After topping the charts with 16 goals in the 2006/07 season, Dzeko was snapped up by Felix Magath for €4M, and headed to Germany to join the Wolfsburg revolution.

Dzeko’s Bundesliga career started well and has continued to go from strength to strength. The Bosnian only started 17 games in his first season at the Volkswagen Arena but still managed eight goals and seven assists, his creative work stemming from a spell as a midfielder at the start of his professional career.

At the start of the 2008/09 season, Dzeko was 22-years-old, ready to make a big impact and this he certainly did. Alongside the Brazilian Grafite, the Bosnian formed the most successful strike partnership in the history of the Bundesliga, Dzeko finishing with 26 goals, while Grafite finished with 28. Due to his additional ten assists and impressive performances in the UEFA Cup and domestic cup competitions, Dzeko was named the Players’ German Footballer of the Year at the end of a season in which Wolfsburg had clinched the Bundesliga shield. The arrival of fellow Bosnian Zvjezdan Misimovic at the start of that season certainly helped the striker’s acclimatisation, but it was his natural born talent which led to such personal and collective success. 

Naturally, Dzeko and Grafite both became transfer targets for many of Europe’s top clubs this summer, but both have remained at the Volkswagen Arena to try to take the Wolves to a second league title and try their luck in this year’s Champions League. Italian giants AC Milan in particular were desperate to secure Dzeko’s services, but the Bosnian instead, perhaps surprisingly, signed a new contract which will keep him at Wolfsburg until 2013. Importantly, the striker seems happy with the ambition and talent at the Volkswagen Arena.

The Grafite-Dzeko strike duo has been joined this season by pacey former Newcastle United striker Obafemi Martins, who will undoubtedly complement the hold-up play and aerial ability of both men. At over 6ft 3in, Dzeko can be a real target man, that priceless, old-fashioned centre forward so hard to find in the modern game. His best asset is perhaps his heading, but he also has a very good right foot and the ability to create chances for others, bringing his team-mates into the play.

Dzeko and Wolfsburg will be very anxious to show their former manager Felix Magath that they have not fallen apart without him and with the squad arguably better than last season the Bosnian should again enjoy good support. Magath will no doubt remain a fan, having commented of Dzeko: “He is just the kind of striker a club would wish for. He is unselfish, has an accurate shot and header, and knows what to do with the ball the moment he receives it.” Glowing praise indeed from the man now situated in the Schalke dugout.

On the international front, Dzeko’s seven goals have helped Bosnia-Herzegovina to second-place in their World Cup qualifying group. With two games to go and a four-point advantage over Turkey, Bosnia look likely to make the qualifying playoffs and may well go on to reach next year’s World Cup in South Africa. If they do make it, Dzeko will be a crucial figure, both with his goals and general creative play. It could also give the youngster another opportunity to announce himself on the world stage.

Related Articles:


Hamburg 09/10 Third       Hertha Berlin 09/10 Home

Hamburg 09/10 third shirt               Hertha Berlin 09/10 home shirt