Adam Hlozek: Who is the Czech teenager joining Bayer Leverkusen?
Bayer Leverkusen newcomer Adam Hlozek's not the first up-and-coming forward to be likened to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Is the 'young Ibra' tag accurate? bundesliga.com finds out...
Club: Bayer Leverkusen
Position: Forward/ winger/ attacking midfielder
Country: Czech Republic (14 caps/ one goal)
Hzolek moves to Leverkusen on the back of an historic spell at boyhood club Sparta Prague. Having not long made a goal-scoring debut in the Czech Cup, he became the youngest debutant in their history, aged 16 years, three months and 16 days. Four months later, the 6'2" forward went into the annals as the Czech top flight's greenest goalscorer. He also ranks as the division's youngest scorer of three single-game goals, thanks to his 74-minute hat-trick against Opava in April 2021.
The naturally right-footed Hlozek topped the Fortuna Liga scoring charts that season with 15 goals, adding to the Czech Cup winner's medal he collected the previous year, while no player produced more than his 13 assists in 2021/22. With 40 goals and 36 assists in 132 senior appearances in Sparta colours, the Czech international teammate of Leverkusen's Patrik Schick had a direct hand in a goal every 1.73 games.
Plays a bit like: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The way Hlozek strikes a ball is reminiscent of strikers of a bygone era. Big and strong, sees the ball and hits it when picked out in the box, even from seemingly unlikely situations. It's no wonder comparisons with (a younger) Ibrahimovic have been made. But he is so much more than a taker of chances. His assist count at Sparta speaks for itself; he can play across the frontline and even as a No.10; and has pace and power in abundance as he looks to drive forward whenever the opportunity arises.
Did you know?
Hlozek has more than a club badge and passport in common with Schick. On the final day of the 2020/21 season, the 2019 Czech Young Player of the Year scored a Czech top-flight record four goals in the space of 23 first-half minutes in a 6-1 rout of Zbrojovka Brno. Schick hit four second-half goals in 29 minutes for Leverkusen in a 7-1 win over Greuther Fürth the following Bundesliga campaign. Imagine the damage the duo will do in the same side...
What they're saying
"Adam is a player who can create a real goal threat as a second striker from a central position or coming in from the wings. His versatility, his power and, above all, his finishing will give our attack more variation." - Bayer sporting director Simon Rolfes
"Adam Hlozek is not only a huge talent for Sparta, but also for Czech football as a whole." - Sparta director and former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Tomas Rosicky
"In training, he looks as strong as in a match. He's an extraordinary talent who doesn't play just because he is 16, but because he has earned it." - Hlozek's former coach Zdenek Scasny
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