Speedy and robust, Erik Jendrisek is Slovakia’s supersub par excellence. Used sparingly up to this point by coach Vladimir Weiss, most frequently in the closing minutes to put a game to rest, he nevertheless knows how to seize his chances when they present themselves. This was evidenced by the deciding goal he scored in the 2-1 win over the Czech Republic in April 2009, a result which sent Slovakia above their neighbours to the top of Group 3, where they would remain until the end of the FIFA World Cup™ qualifying campaign.
The Slovak hitman knows something about getting the ball on target, after all in his early years as a professional he enjoyed a phenomenal scoring rate - finding the back of the net 30 times in just 56 matches for Ruzomberok and inspiring his team to the Slovak League and Cup double in 2006 in the process. His reputation preceding him by this stage, he was lured to Germany the following season in a loan deal with Hannover.
Jendrisek’s first season in the Bundesliga was not a great success. He struggled to adapt to his new surroundings and his first-team opportunities were limited. He decided at that juncture that a change was necessary, and moved to Kaiserslautern on a 3-year contract. After initially falling foul of the Red Devils’ disciplinary rules, he eventually began to repay the faith shown in him by the club’s coaching staff during the 2008/09 season, in which the talented striker put in several excellent performances and regained his eye for goal. It was a welcome return to form for Jendrisek, and at just the right time, with the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa on the horizon.
The 23-year-old will join Schalke after his deal with Kaiserslautern expires in the summer, and will be expected to fill the boots of the departing Kevin Kuranyi.