A true live wire, able to strike the ball with considerable power and not averse to tracking back when required, Stanislav Sestak has been described as Slovakia’s most dangerous offensive weapon. His nation has regularly turned to the 27-year-old hotshot since awarding him his first cap in 2004 against Germany, the country in whose domestic league he now stars.
An encouraging start with Tatran Presov in his homeland – nine goals scored in 42 appearances – brought the young striker to the attention of Slovan Bratislava. Sestak struggled to settle in the Slovak capital, lacking confidence in front of goal, but in 2004, he turned to MSK Zilina to provide him with a new launch pad, and he has never really looked back.
Making use of his pace, drive and predator’s instinct, Sestak was a sensation at his new club, scoring goal after goal with his magical right foot. Honours quickly followed, including two Slovakian League and Cup doubles in 2004 and 2007, and the title of leading goalscorer during the 2005/06 season. When German club Bochum got wind of his staggering statistics (49 strikes in 99 matches), Sestak decided the time was right to test his skills at a higher level.
It was a move that neither club nor player would ever regret. He was immediately confronted by two tricky tasks: replacing former crowd favourite Theofanis Gekas, newly-transferred to Bayer Leverkusen, and saving the club from relegation. While this might have proved too heavy a burden for lesser characters, the Slovak number 9 simply got on with what he does best – putting the ball in the back of the net, while not ever shirking his defensive duties. Consequently, it did not take long for Sestak to win over the home fans, remaining to this day one of the Ruhrstadion’s favourite sons. His glut of goals, including one scored after just 39 seconds of play, as well as his numerous assists, have made the rampaging hitman one of the most feared forwards in the Bundesliga.
His recent record at international level is also impressive – he contributed six goals in six games during the qualifying phase for 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, playing an important role in propelling Slovakia to the finals for the first time as an independent nation.
Home fans are now confident that he can carry over his excellent form in the blue of Bochum to the blue of Slovakia, and can continue his remarkable scoring run for his country in the scheduled clashes with Italy, New Zealand and Paraguay in June.