After helping FC Ingolstadt 04 exceed expectations in the Bundesliga in 2015/16, Dario Lezcano is now looking to leave an indelible mark on one of the summer’s premier international cup competitions.
'We'll have a lot of fun with Dario'
When the striker was introduced to the Ingolstadt fans back in January, he was viewed as a potential saviour. Lezcano arrived from the Swiss Raiffeisen Super League with a reputation as a prolific finisher with goalscoring pedigree at international level with Paraguay, offering hope that die Schanzer could start finding the target regularly too, having done so just 11 times in 17 games by that point.
It came as no surprise then that the sense of anticipation was palpable in Ingolstadt given the player’s track record. "His composure in front of goal sets him apart in much the same way his will to win does," said sporting director Thomas Linke. "We’re convinced that we’ll have a lot of fun with Dario in the current campaign."
Those words rang true come the end of the season. The 25-year-old had a hand in six goals in 17 appearances, a reasonable return in a side where the front three were seen as the first line of defence and where just Moritz Hartmann, Lukas Hinterseer and Mathew Leckie scored more than twice all season.
When it comes to the national team, Lezcano falls firmly into the ‘late bloomer’ category: his first call-up came in October 2015, just a few weeks before signing for Ingolstadt. Fast forward seven months and he is now gearing up for the Copa America Centenario with Los Guaranies on the back of scoring four times in five appearances for his country. It is a tally that is difficult for head coach Ramon Diaz to ignore, despite the forward vying for a place against the likes of Roque Santa Cruz, Derlis Gonzalez, Lucas Barrios, Edgar Benitez or even FC Augsburg’s Raul Bobadilla, who did not make the final cut.