Hoffenheim striker Ibisevic lets his goals do the talkingNovember 8th, 2008 - 2:52 pm ICT by IANS
Sinsheim (Germany), Nov 8 (DPA) The working day was not over for Vedad Ibisevic after he had scored twice in the 4-1 rout of Karlsruhe to take his goal tally in the Bundesliga season to 13.First he had to acknowledge the ovation given to him from Hoffenheim fans and to sign his first autographs. Then the Bosnian - fluent in English, German and French - was on hand to translate into German for his team-mates Demba Ba and Chinedu Obasi in an interview with the pay-TV channel Premiere.
For the Bundesliga’s leading scorer, the goals are doing all the talking.
Even the legendary Gerd Mueller might have to start worrying that his record of 40 goals in a season could be under threat. The former Bayern Munich and Germany striker had only six goals at the same stage of 11 games played in the 1971/72 season.
“At the moment everything is going well for me,” says Ibisevic, who has five goals more than the next players on the list, Artur Wichniarek of Arminia Bielefeld and Patrick Helmes of Bayer Leverkusen.
It hasn’t always been that way for the 24-year-old who, according to Hoffenheim general manager Jan Schindelmeiser, has “had to work hard for everything” and can be proud of his achievements.
At the age of 16, Ibisevic’s family left Bosnia and Herzegovina for a new life in Switzerland, but unable to obtain a permit to stay sought their fortune in the US.
The youngster’s performances on the college fields soon attracted the attention of scouts, leading to a contract with French side Paris St Germain. After only a year he was on his way to Dijon, and then found himself in May 2006 heading for Germany and Alemannia Aachen.
The powerful striker, strong in the air, managed six goals in 24 games at Aachen, and former coach Guido Buchwald did his best to retain the player when Hoffenheim made an approach after Aachen were relegated from the top flight.
However the player had an option in his contract allowing him to leave, and Hoffenheim were prepared to pay around 1 million euros ($1.28 million) for the striker to Buchwald’s chagrin.
“He was a central player. Hoffenheim signed him up while claiming they have a youth concept. That annoys me,” he said.
At Hoffenheim things did not go smoothly initially. He was quickly confronted with two new rivals for a place in the forward line when Hoffenheim signed the Nigerian Obasi and the Senegalese Ba.
Yet Ibisevic went out of his way to help the two Africans settle into the side.
“When Demba came he didn’t speak any German so I helped in with French and we have became really good friends,” he said.
Schindelmeiser said: “The way he behaved was great. It’s something I really appreciate.”
Ibisevic hardly set the second division alight last season, scoring five goals to help Hoffenheim gain promotion for the second successive season.
Before the current season, he was by no means a certain starter. But with Obasi playing for Nigeria at the Olympic Games, Ibisevic was given an opportunity - and took it.
Hoffenheim coach Ralf Rangnick admits to being surprised at the player’s development.
“If Chinedu had been available I’m not sure Vedad would have got this chance,” he said.
Ibisevic doesn’t seem the type to get carried away by his current goalscoring success, especially in view of the civil war in his country when he was growing up and the disruption in home life.
“It makes you stronger and more grown up. You learn that there are more important things in life than football,” he said.