Three years after Edin Džeko shot to prominence at FK Teplice, Bosnian players are again causing a stir at the Na Stínadlech stadium as the north Bohemian side take the Czech 1. Liga by storm. The Skláři (Glassmakers) are surprise leaders, still undefeated after eight rounds despite making no significant signings during the summer.
Teplice's European ambitions ended in the UEFA Europa League play-offs when they suffered a 3-2 aggregate defeat by Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC, but disappointment has been swiftly quickly taken out on their domestic rivals. They kicked off their campaign with a goalless draw against AC Sparta Praha, the only game so far in which they have failed to find the net and are now top of the table with 15 goals scored. Once again it is a Bosnian leading the way. In 2006/07 Džeko struck 13 in 30 league games for Teplice to earn a move to VfL Wolfsburg. His Bundesliga-leading 26 strikes last term fired the Wolves to their first German title.
There are now four Bosnians in the Teplice squad with Aidin Mahmutovič impressing most with three goals this season. Coach Jiří Plíšek replaced Petr Rada last year after he was appointed to the helm of the Czech national side and he is getting the most out of a well-balanced squad. Midfielder Jakub Mareš, 22, was a member of the Czech side that reached the final of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2007 while at the other end of the spectrum 36-year-old former international Pavel Verbíř is still playing a useful playmaking role in his 17th season at the Na Stínadlech stadium. Surplus to requirements at Sparta, goalkeeper Tomáš Grigar has kept four clean sheets.
FK Jablonec, are another surprise, sitting pretty in second and looking down on the Prague rivals – and UEFA Europa League hopefuls – SK Slavia Praha (third) and Sparta (fourth). Titleholders Slavia unexpectedly lost at 1. FC Brno on 2 August but have picked up the pace since. Sparta remain undefeated, but are hardly setting the league alight having won just three of eight games and scoring only eight goals in the process. Two have come from the boot of Václav Kadlec who, at 17, is the youngest player in the league and already proving a key figure.
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