After scoring three goals in Hungary's two UEFA EURO 2004™ qualifying fixtures, striker Imre Szabics has capped a memorable week by joining German Bundesliga runners-up VfB Stuttgart on a free transfer from SK Sturm Graz.
Only last month the 22-year-old was sacked by Sturm, the Austrian club citing "non-compliance with work regulations". Sturm president Hannes Kartnig said that because of an injury Szabics had not been given permission to make his debut for Hungary in a friendly international against Luxembourg, a match in which he scored twice.
Previously he angered the Sturm management by turning down the offer of a new contract at the Arnold Schwarzenegger stadium, reportedly agreeing instead to join 1. FC Nürnberg at the conclusion of his contract. That deal collapsed following Nürnberg's relegation from the Bundesliga, but Stuttgart stepped in to land one of Europe's up-and-coming marksmen.
After committing to the club for three years, Szabics said: "
I am looking forward to my time with Stuttgart because I really like the coach, Felix Magath, and the club made me feel welcome from the start." Szabics is tipped to flourish under the guidance of Magath, who led an inexperienced side to second place in the German top flight and a berth in the UEFA Champions League group stage.
Five in three
After scoring twice on his international debut, Szabics struck two more goals last Saturday in a 3-1 win against Latvia before hitting Hungary's fourth in a 5-0 victory in San Marino last night. The Magyars are up to second in qualifying Group 4.
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