May 27, 2017

Vedad Ibišević and Hertha BSC Agree to Extension

Shortly after the conclusion of their annual general membership meeting, Hertha BSC announced that team captain and top goal-scorer Vedad Ibišević had agreed to a contract extension with the Berlin club into 2019.

The new deal replaces Ibišević’ original deal with Hertha BSC, which was set to expire after the current season ends. .

The Bosnian international has found new life in the blue and white stripes. In his final season with Stuttgart, he battled injury to make only 14 appearances and went without a goal through the entire 2014-15 campaign, after posting 25 goals the prior two seasons.

With Hertha,  Ibišević moved north and immediately made the free transfer look like a windfall for his new club, posting braces in two of his first five Bundesliga games under coach Pal Dardai and finishing the season with ten goals.

Coming off another two-goal performance Sunday in Hertha’s 2:1 victory over Mainz, Ibišević has already scored eight, bringing his Bundesliga career total to 100 goals. Though he is well on his way to achieving a new personal goals mark in Berlin, he won’t be able to do it this weekend in Wolfsburg, as he collected two yellow cards in 16 minutes Sunday to earn his first dismissal of the season.

“Vedad is an important player for us,” says Dardai of the man he elevated to team captain over the summer. “He works an enormous amount and earned both goals against Mainz. I am happy to be working with him”

The 32 year-old forward was born in Vlasenica in what was then Yugoslavia.  Escaping the war-torn region in 2000, he and his family lived briefly in Switzerland before moving to St. Louis, Missouri as part of a large resettlement movement of Bosnian refugees to that Midwestern city famed for its longtime support of the beautiful game decades before the original NASL came about.  Ibišević played high school soccer at Roosevelt High on the city’s southside and earned Conference USA’s 2003 Men’s Soccer Freshman of the Year at St.Louis University before being signed by PSG in 2004.  After two seasons with PSG, where he played little but got games on loan with Dijon in Ligue 2, Ibišević began his lengthy stay in Germany by signing with Alemannia Aachen.

After one season with the North Rhine-Westphalia club, the Bosnian signed with Hoffenheim, a club on the rise up the ranks fueled by money (that of software billionaire Dietmar Hopp and guided by Ralf Rangnick) and helped them win promotion to Germany’s first division for the 2008/2009 season.

The striker’s first season in the Bundesliga was memorable and yet painful.  He led the promoted Hoffenheim side to Herbstmeister, scoring an incredible 18 goals in the 17 Hinrunde matches before suffering a knee injury during winter break and was lost for the season, which saw Hoffenheim plummet to 7th in the table.  Ralf Rangnick’s club could never again reach the heights achieved in their first 17 first-division matches and Ibišević left for Stuttgart after three more seasons in Sinsheim.  Again, the Bosnian Billiken found individual success but the Swabians couldn’t get over the hump and he signed with Hertha Berlin in August, 2015, where his career has been revitalized.

Very proud to represent his native land, Ibišević has scored 28 international goals in 74 matches and helped Bosnia and Herzegovina to its first World Cup appearance in 2014.

 

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Randall Hauk is a freelance writer living in the United States while covering German football. He is currently the publisher of Planet Effzeh, an English-language site covering 1. FC Köln. He wrote about the German national team for the Telegraph as part of their World Cup Nation coverage.

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