Marc Janko is always hungry for goals. The striker's unforgettable 2008/09 season when he scored 39 in 34 outings to propel FC Salzburg to the Austrian Bundesliga title is testimony to that, with the Vienna-born player finishing third behind Samuel Eto'o and Diego Forlán in the ESM Golden Shoe rankings.
Since joining Dutch club FC Twente last summer, the 27-year-old has continued his prolific ways: his 14 goals in 25 Eredivisie games make him the Tukkers' most fruitful forward in domestic competition. However, the son of two of Austria's most famous track and field athletes – Eva and Herbert Janko – has not always been so successful.
A relatively late starter in professional football, he was 21 when he made the breakthrough at VfB Admira Wacker Mödling, where he netted twice in 13 league matches in 2004/05 to earn a move to Salzburg. Although a regular when fit at his new club, the giant, 1.96m attacker managed only 40 top-flight appearances in his first three Salzburg campaigns because of injuries.
While he recovered to hit 57 goals during the next two seasons, fitness problems have continued to provide a backdrop to his career. In February, a groin complaint forced his withdrawal from the Austria squad that lost a friendly to the Netherlands, and ahead of Belgium's visit in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group A on Friday he is nursing troublesome ankle ligaments. "
Sometimes my bad luck with injuries really gets on my nerves," Janko said.
Nevertheless, he always bounces back. "Maybe I could have started my career earlier with a bit more trust from my former coaches," said the totem, who has scored six times in 18 internationals. "Since I had to wait so long for my chance, I learned that you have to pull through and win the battle step by step. You have to believe in yourself."
While he makes good use of his height, Janko is far from one dimensional, being adept also with ball to feet. He maintains that he has inherited his coordination and talent from his parents. Eva, his mother, won a javelin bronze at the 1988 Olympics, while father Herbert collected several national titles as a high jumper.
Janko insists his parents never pressured him into playing sport. "They always left it for me to decide what I wanted to do," he said. "They would love me the same if I had become a lawyer."
The Twente man fully intends to add to his caps tally in Vienna against a Belgium team Austria held to a 4-4 draw earlier in the campaign. However, should Janko fail to overcome his latest knock, do not bet against him coming back stronger when he resumes his hunt for goals after the international break.
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