Vedad Ibisevic's route to the very top level of the German game has been nothing if not unorthodox. Born in Vlasenica in eastern Bosnia in 1984, he moved as a youngster with his family to Tuzla during the upheaval caused by the vicious civil war(s) following the break-up of Yugoslavia.
In 2000, by which time Ibisevic had already represented Bosnia and Herzegovina at youth level, the family emigrated to Switzerland and then, less than a year later, to St. Louis in the United States.
Ibisevic swiftly made a name for himself as one of the most promising forward talents in the state with the St. Louis University team. After a brief spell with the Chicago Fire PDL in the USL Premier Development League, he was talent-spotted by Paris St. Germain in 2004. From there, his journey took him to Dijon a year later, where he saw considerably more game-time, and in 2006, just as he turned 22, Ibisevic got his first toe-hold in the German professional game when Alemannia Aachen snapped him up.
A further season down the line and it was all-change again, as ambitious Bundesliga 2 outfit TSG 1899 Hoffenheim came calling. More often than not, he had to play second-fiddle to fellow new signings Chinedu Obasi and Demba Ba during Hoffenheim's successful promotion drive. Once the top-flight action got under way in 2008/09 however, Ibisevic hit a rare streak of form that saw him score 18 goals in a sensational first season-half which ended with the debutant outfit top of the table.
Then bad luck struck, as he tore a cruciate ligament in his right knee in a pre-restart friendly against Hamburger SV. That ruled him out for the rest of the campaign, over the course of which Hoffenheim's fortunes also went into decline.
The seasons following his return were solid rather than spectacular, but the move to VfB Stuttgart midway through 2011/12 seemed to inject the goalgetter with a fresh lease of life and in 15 Bundesliga outings over the second season-half, Ibisevic nabbed eight goals. The seasoned Bosnia and Herzegovina international scored as many goals in the Bundesliga the following season, with only Stefan Kießling (25), Robert Lewandowski (24) and Alexander Meier (16) outgunning the Stuttgart No.9.