Bosnian striker Vedad Ibisevic is not going to be allowed to follow in the footsteps of Claudio Pizarro and continue playing into old age with the decision by Hertha Berlin not to offer the 35-year-old a new contract. It seems that the Bundesliga is preparing to say ‘Aufwiedersehen’ to another legend this summer.
“We have informed Vedad that we will not be making him a new offer at this time,” Hertha boss Michael Preetz told Kicker. “But we will keep an open mind,” he added.
The club slogan that ‘die Zukunft gehört Berlin’ (the future belongs to Berlin) matches perfectly with Hertha’s lofty ambitions of becoming serious Bundesliga contenders backed by the Lars Windhorst, but that future sadly doesn’t include veteran striker Ibisevic.
Squad planning for next season has identified a slot for a new striker with Davie Selke now remaining at Werder Bremen, but that seemingly won’t be occupied by the former Hoffenheim and Stuttgart forward. Krzysztof Piątek, who arrived in January from Milan for €24 million has been earmarked to lead the Hertha line with Dodi Lukebakio and Matheus Cunha both able to play centrally as well if required. 19-year-old Jessic Ngankam will be given more game time, while the return of Daishawn Redan from his loan at Groningen will give Bruno Labbadia further options upfront.
Despite playing a key role under Labbadia this season, the Bundesliga legend that is Vedad Ibisevic may have scored his final goals in Germany. The striker wasn’t one of the players the club officially bade farewell to after the final game of the season, but that looks to the case.
With seven goals Ibisevic finished as the club’s joint top-scorer this season along with Lukebakio, with four of those goals coming during the Geisterspiele with Bruno Labbadia in charge. He found a new lease of life at the club under the coach appointed on Easter Monday after falling out of favour under Jürgen Klinsmann and Alexander Nouri. If he has indeed played his last game for die Alte Dame, then he signed off in true Ibisevic style with a late goal against Borussia Mönchengladbach on the last day of the season.
His first Bundesliga goal came way back in November 2006 for Alemannia Aachen against VfB Stuttgart. Since then he has banged in 127 Bundesliga goals in 340 appearances for Aachen, Hoffenheim, Stuttgart and Hertha- for Berlin alone he’s scored 56 times. Who can forget his outstanding 2008/09 Hinrunde when he scored 18 goals in 17 games for TSG?
He is the fourth most prolific foreign goal scorer in Bundesliga history behind Robert Lewandowski (236), Claudio Pizarro (197) and Giovane Elber (133).
Ibisevic has proved this season that he can still score goals for Hertha, but the prospect of playing the ‘Pizarro role’ as eternal substitute and father figure is not one that would suit the Bosnian, who needs to be the main man and in amongst the action.
Is there another Bundesliga club willing to take a punt on a player, who turns 36 on August 6th? It seems more likely that a move to MLS could be on the cards, which would see the striker return to the US, where he began his career in 2003 in St Louis after emigrating from Bosnia in 2000.
The future may belong to Berlin, but a rich Bundesliga history belongs to Vedad Ibisevic and the league will be a poorer place without him.