Alongside his Wolfsburg strike partner Grafite, Edin Dzeko forms one of the most lethal strike forces in European football, the attacking duo having notched an astounding 31 goals and 14 assists between them so far this season. With stats like these, coach Felix Magath's dreams of a first Bundesliga title in the club's history appear to be more credible than ever, with the Wolves currently just one point behind leaders Hertha Berlin.
In an exclusive interview with FIFA.com, the Bosnian striker highlighted the determination in the squad to make the most of their opportunity, saying: "I hope we can continue the great form we've been showing."
The 23-year-old front-man has fired an impressive nine goals in the first eight Bundesliga games of 2009 and, if he continues in this rich vein of form, will no doubt be in the running for the league's top-scorer award come the end of the season. Following spells at FK Zeljeznicar Sarajevo, FK Teplice and FK Usti nad Labem, the Bosnia-Herzegovina international signed for Wolfsburg back in 2007, and it seems the striker has finally found his feet with the Lower Saxony club.
The man credited with discovering Dzeko is former Bayern Munich coach and current Wolfsburg supremo, Felix Magath, who has described Dzeko as an enormous talent with a big future ahead of him. "That's always nice to hear and it gives me the motivation to keep performing," says Dzeko modestly. "I'm always trying to improve my game and eliminate any weaknesses."
I hope to stay fit and score the goals that will fire us to the World Cup next year.
The towering forward has not only made a huge impact at club level, but also for his national team, Bosnia-Herzegovina, with whom he hopes to qualify for what would be the country's first ever FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa next year. "We'll do everything we can to qualify for the World Cup," said the striker. "We have a good team, but I think luck always plays a big part." Following two wins, against Estonia and Armenia, and defeats to Spain and Turkey respectively, Bosnia-Herzegovina currently occupy fourth spot in Group 5 with six points, trailing leaders Spain (12), Turkey (8) and Belgium (7).
"The two upcoming matches against Belgium will be decisive," explains Dzeko ahead of the crunch encounters with the Red Devils on 28 March and 1 April. The two sides also met in qualification for Germany 2006, with the Balkan side emerging 1-0 winners on home turf before losing the return in Brussels 4-1.
Four years ago, the Bosnians finished in the unfortunate position of third in their European qualifying group and in doing so missed out on the finals at the third attempt. However, the Wolfsburg talisman remains optimistic about his side's chances this time around, saying: "Hopefully we won't suffer the same disappointment again."
I'm always trying to improve my game and eliminate any weaknesses.
The relatively young nation of Bosnia-Herzegovina (an official FIFA member association since 1996) have a squad brimming with technical ability and dribbling skills, as well as extremely talented individuals like Hasan Salihamidzic of Italian giants Juventus. "Football is the most popular sport in my country, and the people live in the hope that one day, we will be a part of a big sporting event," he continued.
In the 4-1 qualifying win over Armenia in October, three other Bundesliga stars were in the starting 11: club team-mate Zvjezdan Misimovic, Sejad Salihovic and Vedad Ibisevic (both of 1899 Hoffenheim), although the latter will be out for some time with a cruciate ligament injury. Dzeko took time in his interview with FIFA.com to sympathise with his ill-fated compatriot: "We've spoken to each other and I wished him a speedy recovery. It's not only a bitter blow for the national team, but for the Bundesliga, too."
Dzeko hopes to avoid his fellow countryman's misfortune over the coming months and reveals his personal goals for 2009: "I hope to stay fit and score the goals that will fire us to the World Cup next year. I'm also a big fan of AC Milan and I've always wanted to play for a big club." He has already found the target four times in as many qualifying games, and should the Bosnian starlet indeed get the opportunity to showcase his abilities in South Africa next summer, then another of his dreams may well become reality.