Hoffenheim striker finding his form on the continent
After plundering goal after goal in the Croatian top-flight for three years, Leicester City paid Rijeka £9 million for Andrej Kramaric to help save their season in 2015.
The Foxes clawed their way to safety and then amazingly won the league the following season. But the 23-year-old forward was just a mere spectator on their incredible journey.
Fast forward four years and Kramaric is one of the most-prolific strikers in the Bundesliga and his national team’s main man up-top.
Hoffenheim are 19/20 to win away at Freiburg this weekend, so we take a look at what he does so well…
Home from home
The forward’s confidence was sucked from him during his spell in England and he needed to fall back in love with the game.
His loan move to Hoffenheim in January 2016 proved to be the spark to change his fortunes.
He found a manager in Julien Nagelsmann that is nurturing a theme of turning a B-List cast into fully-fledged stars.
The Bundesliga is growing in reputation with players from all corners of the game. Kramaric is just a glowing example of Germany’s unique selling point. Game-time.
He won Der Kraichgauer’s Fan’s Player of the Year award in 2016-17 and hasn’t looked back since.
Since making his Croatia debut against Malta in 2014 he has had to play second fiddle to the likes of Mario Mandzukic, Ivica Olic and Nikola Kalinic.
But after leaving Leicester in 2015, his form in the Bundesliga has been hard to ignore. Mandzukic and Olic have since retired from international football in recent years, putting Kramaric firmly in the frame.
The Hoffenheim man began to pick up caps with more regularity by the end of 2016 and moving into 2017 and '18.
But after Kalinic was sent home by the national team before last summer's World Cup – Kramaric grabbed his chance.
The 27-year-old hasn't looked back since scoring more goals (4) last year than he did in his first two years as a full international.
This included the two goals to take his side to the tournament in Russia and goals against Spain and England in the UEFA Nations League.
His importance to the national team has only really been allowed to blossom because of his club form.
Nagelsmann has had a massive impact on the trajectory of his career. Kramaric is the main man for Hoffenheim and can play in a variety of attacking positions.
In his two full seasons since joining the club permanently in 2016, he has plundered 15 and 13 league goals apiece – shooting his side to back-to-back Champions League places.
But his 14 assists across the previous two campaigns show, whilst he's honed his eye for goal – he has become a man for every occasion.
Kramaric is on for double figures again this year, and we're sure he’ll be keen to give his boss the perfect send-off by bagging Champions League football once more.
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