Players don't come much bigger than former VfB Stuttgart striker Saša Kalajdžić, who has joined Eintracht Frankfurt on a six-month loan from Wolverhamption Wanderers. bundesliga.com profiles the German top flight's tallest player...
Stats correct as of 7 January 2024
Club: Eintracht Frankfurt (on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Country: Austria (19 caps/ 4 goals)
Kalajdžić is back in the Bundesliga after an injury-hit spell at parent club Wolverhamption Wanderers. The 6'6" striker only played for the English club once in 2021/22, but did score three goals across 13 matches during the first half of 2023/24, before moving to Eintracht Frankfurt in January.
Despite battling the same knee ligament problem in his pre-English Premier League days, Kalajdžić enjoyed a far healthier return in front of goal for Stuttgart between 2019 and 2022. The Austrian with Serbian roots scored 24 times in 60 competitive games for the three-time Bundesliga champions, tallying 16 and six assists in his debut German top-flight campaign.
Watch: All Sasa Kalajdzic's Bundesliga goals in 2020/21
It was whilst at Stuttgart that Kalajdzic earned his first of 19 senior international caps to date, in a UEFA Nations League Group B encounter with Romania in October 2020. He struck twice on only his second start, in a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier with Scotland, and followed that up with another effort against the Faroe Islands.
The natural right-footer went on to feature in all four of his country's UEFA Euro 2020 matches and scored in extra-time of Austria's 2-1 defeat to eventual winners Italy in the round of 16, displaying the kind of performances that first caught the eye during a formative, 12-goal, 12-assist spell at Admira Wacker Mödling.
Plays a bit like: Peter Crouch
"I've heard a comparison with [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, Peter Crouch, anything from 'tall and lanky' to 'tall' and an 'Ibrahimovic-Machine!'" Kalajdzic told bundesliga.com during the 2020/21 season.
"When I used to play holding midfield in my youth, there was a player called Nemanja Matic at Manchester United who was a bit of an idol. He's also Serbian and I have Serbian roots. I tried to compare myself to him. There are a lot of names: 'tall striker', 'lanky striker', 'big striker', everything! I don't mind, I can't really get involved because I'm just Sasa."
Everyone appreciates a bit of humility, but Kalajdzic is doing himself a great disservice. A natural target man who does not rely exclusively on his aerial prowess, the Austrian also boasts two good feet, plays his part in the build-up, and can strike the ball with real finesse.
Comparisons with the criminally underrated Crouch - the former England international, who once stood head and shoulders above the rest at the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool - are not that wide of the mark.
Did you know?
After stepping off the bench to score a brace and get Stuttgart a draw 2-2 with Union Berlin in December 2020, Kalajdzic cut a distracted figure in his post-match interview. Clutching his phone, as if involved in a bitter WhatsApp exchange with an ex, he was asked what the problem was. "I forgot to put myself in my fantasy league team," he replied. "I'm such an idiot!"
Kalajdzic started 13 of VfB's remaining 17 league matches, amassing some 253 Fantasy Bundesliga points for the campaign. Among the game's strikers, only Robert Lewandowski, Andre Silva, Thomas Müller, Wout Weghorst, Erling Haaland and Andrej Kramaric produced more. All cost over 19M - Kalajdzic's season-ending value was a bargain-basement 8.6M.
Watch: Kalajdžić's best Bundesliga skills and goals
What they're saying
"He's a very good footballer. He links up well with his teammates, and communicates very effectively. He's invaluable." - former Stuttgart head coach Pellegrino Matarazzo
"It feels like he reaches four or five metres in the air. He rises above the opposition like they're not even there, and manages to make a clean connection with the ball." - Borussia Dortmund coach Edin Terzic
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Saša Kalajdžić returns to Bundesliga with Eintracht loan
The former Stuttgart striker is back in the German top flight, joining Frankfurt on a sixth-month loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers.