Club: Teplice (On loan from Viktoria Plzen)
Why he’s here
2013 was pretty good.
Lukas Stratil, another forward to come off the prosperous Pribram production line was playing and scoring regularly in the Juniorska Liga and had begun to breakthrough into the senior side. Used sparingly he netted three goals for his club from the bench and was invited to join Viktoria Plzen on their winter training camp. After impressing there, he was signed by Dusan Uhrin Jr under the condition he was to return to Pribram for the rest of the season. It was a switch that, on paper, benefitted all the parties involved.
On the international front, Stratil played for the Under 19s in March – his debut at that level – and by the year had ended he had featured in successive games for the Under 21s, scoring twice.
It’s a cliche to say it, but we’ll utter it nonetheless. 2014 was primed to be a very special year.
The past year has been…
Lukas Stratil’s phenomenal 2013 indicated 2014 could be something great. From the goalscoring cameos in the league to impressing for the Under 21s, it was all there. The foundations could not have been stronger and all that needed to happen was for Pribram to give him the ball.
Initially, this calendar year continued in much the same way that the previous year had ended: Stratil continued to be a part of Pribram’s plans and racked up a further ten appearances, half of them coming as part of their first eleven. He scored twice – one, a firecracker from twenty yards; the other, a more reserved finish from ten –and he continued to feature for Jakub Dovalil’s Czech Under 21s, taking to the pitch against Norway, Slovakia and Austria. He had also shown increased positional awareness and was becoming accustomed to occupying defenders from wide areas rather than central ones though he did show an inability be as ruthless as one would like.
Yet he failed to oust the other strikers on Pribram’s books, something which is a negative given that one of them was Petr Svancara and the other an indifferent Jakub Reznicek. On one hand a talented youngster such as Stratil should easily shrug aside the presence of veteran and a fluctuating forward, but given that he was (presumably) about to depart permanently come June, it does make sense for Pribram’s management to build around their future.
But he’d be back at the Energon Arena soon enough.
Over the summer, Plzen reshaped their entire attack by wheeling and dealing with Mlada Boleslav. The two-times Champions League entrants sent Michal Duris and Tomas Wagner east in exchange for Jan Chramosta. With Chramosta, Bakos and Tecl on Plzen’s books, there was no room for Stratil in their first team and by the end of July, the young forward was back at Pribram. As a move went, it made sense: He was back in familiar surroundings and would have the chance to finally displace the competitors for his position. Then, after six months he’d be in contention for a place in the Viktoria first-team, or so insinuated Plzen’s GM Adolf Sadek when he discussed the move.
That hasn’t happened.
So far this season Stratil has made just six league appearances for Pribram, never getting more than thirty minutes in one game and, damningly, he was left out of the club’s last three fixtures before the winter break. Jakub Reznicek has been in career altering form and the resurgence of two troubled individuals in Martin Fillo (who spent a year hiding away at Griffin Park) and the once heavily touted Martin Zeman has ensured that Stratil can’t get a look in either out wide or as a number ten. The young forward has been stuck in a supporting role once again.
And if he was in the cold at Pribram he’s positively frozen out at Plzen. Current boss Miroslav Koubek hasn’t given Stratil the time of day, instead preferring to bring in Jan Holenda on a free transfer and, more recently, Aidin Mahmutovic in a big money deal. Viktoria then returned to raid Teplice for Egon Vuch and decided to use Lukas as a makeweight, sending the Pribram graduate to Na Stinadlech.
Oh, and he’s fallen way out of contention for the Under 21s too.
The transfer window has not been kind to Teplice and if you believe the rumours t could get worse with the Cup of Nations providing a global platform for Nivaldo to showcase his skills. Potentially this will give Stratil the chance to plug any one of the gaps that are opening up in Zdenek Scasny’s squad, and we hope he takes the chance to do so with both hands.
But he’ll have competition: Vuch remains up north for the rest of the season, Nivaldo is still there and the Glassmakers have acquired the Hungarian Benjamin Balazs from Portuguese club Vitoria, not to mention a host of others who’ll be fighting for an increasing in playing time. He’ll have to work hard and prove to Scasny he can fit in. His initial comments to Teplice’s website suggest he knows what he has to do.
We think he’s talented enough, he just needs the chance to showcase that he is.
Next year we’d like to say that the last six months of 2014 was just a bad, monumentally bad, blip but what came after was a lot better.
photo: FK Pribram
- Posted by Chris Boothroyd
- On 9th January 2015