A veritable cornerstone of Slovakia’s defence, Jan Durica is an imposing, solid and experienced centre-back. In addition to his obvious defensive qualities, he also has a considerable amount to offer going forward. His crisp passes from the back have set up many successful counter-attacks for his country. Vladimir Weiss, Slovakia’s coach, is well-placed to judge Durica’s multi-faceted capabilities, having worked with him previously at club level.
After coming through the ranks of his home-town team, Dunajska Streda, Durica was spotted and promptly signed up by Weiss, then at the helm of Artmedia Bratislava. Together they amassed a Slovak Cup in 2004 and a Slovak Championship the year after, and revelled in the excitement of the club’s remarkable Champions League campaign during the 2005/06 season. It was all then to change for both coach and player; Weiss moved to Saturn Moscow in Russia, taking his most reliable defender with him.
Weiss would ultimately stay just one season in the Russian capital, but his formerly loyal servant remained, earning rave reviews. Durica’s excellent displays brought him to the attention of several big-name clubs, such as Glasgow Celtic and Panathinaikos, but in the end Lokomotiv Moscow won the race for his signature. However, in January 2010, a distress call from German club Hannover – battling to avoid relegation – persuaded the towering Slovak to opt for a temporary spell in the Bundesliga. Having been brought in to provide some stability to a leaky defence at Hannover, Durica will now shift his attention to Slovakia’s back line, under the guidance of Vladimir Weiss once again.