Bundesliga Players at the 2012 EUROs – Part I – Czech Republic

The Czech Republic and Czechoslovakia in the past have constantly had representatives in the Bundesliga. In recent decades, some of the best Czech players have been making history with their country while plying their trade in Germany. Some of their best ever players, such as Jan Koller, Tomáš Rosický, Patrik Berger, Pavel Kuka, Jiří Němec and Tomáš Ujfaluši to name but a few, have all played in the Bundesliga. However, today’s Czech squad isn’t as strong as it was a few years ago but it still has a strong representation from the German league. In this summer’s Euro 2012, here are the players in the Czech squad who play in Germany.

JAROSLAV DROBNÝ –GOALKEEPER – HAMBURGER SV – 32 YEARS OLD – 5 CAPS – 0 GOALS

Drobný has been the number one goalkeeper this year at Hamburg and, most probably, will be Petr Čech’s number two at the tournament. Despite Hamburg’s disastrous season, Drobný has managed to come out with a good reputation, even sparking up rumours of a possible transfer to Bayern München in the summer due to the immediate arrival of René Adler from Bayer Leverkusen. Drobný is a tall goalkeeper that stands at 6ft 3” and has managed to settle in Germany after a difficult start in England. First on loan at VfL Bochum from Ipswich Town and then at Hertha, Drobný managed to impress, so much so he got a move to Hamburg after Hertha’s relegation, where he started as a backup to Frank Rost but won a starting place after the latter’s move to New York Red Bulls. If called upon, Drobný will surely not disappoint.

MICHAL KADLEC – DEFENDER – BAYER LEVERKUSEN – 27 YEARS OLD – 33 CAPS – 7 GOALS

Kadlec comes into the squad as the starting left-back in the team. His excellent skills going forward are complemented by his good defensive awareness. He is also known to score a few goals, having scored 9 in 33 caps for his country and 7 for Bayer Leverkusen, including one this year against Barcelona in the Champions League. His father Miroslav was the Czech Republic captain in Euro 96 and also spent 8 years at Kaiserslautern, where young Michal began his youth career. From there he moved to Sparta Prague, where he was signed from by Bayer Leverkusen in 2008. He made the headlines this year after arguing with teammate Manuel Friedrich over swapping shirts with Lionel Messi during their Champions League tie with the Catalan giants. If the Czechs have a good tournament, Kadlec will be making the headlines for all the right reasons, since he is both an integral part of the Czech Republic’s defence and attack.

ROMAN HUBNÍK – DEFENDER – HERTHA BERLIN – 28 YEARS OLD – 20 CAPS – 2 GOALS

It hasn’t been the best of years for Roman Hubník. He suffered relegation with his Hertha team after a highly entertaining yet problematic relegation playoff against Fortuna Düsseldorf, in which he scored a goal in the first leg. That is one of his strengths, since Hubník stands at 6ft 4” tall and is a huge threat from set pieces. He complements his lack of pace with good positioning and excellent aerial skills and is an excellent candidate to marshall the Czech defence thanks to his experience. He signed for Hertha Berlin on loan from FC Moscow in 2010 and after a handful of appearances he made his move permanent, winning promotion from the 2.Bundesliga in his first season. His second season in the Bundesliga proved to be a more complicated one, and despite a decent start, internal club problems and a drop in form from the squad brought a bad ending to a season. Despite all of this, expect to see Hubník in the starting XI.

PETR JIRAČEK – MIDFIELDER – VfL WOLFSBURG – 26 YEARS OLD – 6 CAPS – 1 GOAL

Jiraček made a name for himself in this last edition of the Champions league with Vikoria Plzeň, accomplishing excellent matches against FC Barcelona and AC Milan. He also scored a wonderful goal against Montenegro in the return match of the qualifying playoffs for Euro 2012, and all of this caught the eye of Wolfsburg manager Felix Magath, who snapped him up for Die Wölfe in the winter break for 5m€. Jiraček has made 13 appearances for the German side this year, scoring two goals. His left foot and his passing are his greatest assets and his goals, even though he’s not a regular goalscorer, are quite something. A player whose career was largely unspectacular until these past 9 months, he will surely be a strong part of the Czech attack this summer in Poland and Ukraine.

TOMÁŠ PEKHART – STRIKER – 1.FC NÜREMBERG – 23 YEARS OLD – 9 CAPS – 0 GOALS

It was a complicated start in Pekhart’s career, as he didn’t manage to make a single appearance at Tottenham. Loans to Southampton and Slavia Prague were equally unimpressive and he decided to move permanently back home to FK Jablonec. There, he found his goalscoring touch again, and after an excellent season which included a very productive loan to Sparta Prague, he moved to Nüremberg for 2m€. It wasn’t a bad season for him at the Frankenstadion and he amassed 10 goals in 34 appearances in all competitions, finishing a respectable 10th in the Bundesliga. His height (6ft 4”) and his striking instinct are his biggest strengths and he will be expecting a starting XI place this summer. A player who has played for all Czech youth categories, he is the great hope of Czech strikers of today and the main target man for them this tournament.

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Aleix Gwilliam

Is a 27-year-old living in Barcelona who gets more pleasure from watching German lower-league football than from going to watch his hometown team at the Camp Nou every other week. Passionate about European football, its history and culture, you can follow him on Twitter at @AleixGwilliam

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