Club: Vysocina Jihlava, on loan from Sparta Prague
D.O.B: 03 January 1993
Why he’s here
At the start of 2013, Sparta Prague coach Vitezslav Lavicka raised the eyebrow of pretty much everybody when he gave then twenty-year-old Matej Hybs his bow at home against Chelsea in the Europa League. Hybs didn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The left-back played the rest of the 2012-13 season as first-choice, but that summer saw the arrival of Costa Nhamoniesu who ousted the youngster. Not necessarily make or break, 2014 would be an important year for the talented Czech under-21 international.
The past year has been…
…all about treading water.
Costa Nhamoniesu’s debut season was phenomenal. The Zimbabwean international gave the Czech Republic a lesson on how to attack with reckless abandon and, occasionally, defend. Only when the former Zaglebie Lubin man was out injured did Hybs get a look in. With the season winding down and Sparta cruising to their first league championship in a couple of years Hybs was drafted in, performed well and rarely put a foot wrong on his return to the side.
After the summer recess, Costa was back fit and Hybs was once again demoted to the role as a reserve fullback. But this time, he had competition for that dubious honour as Manuel Pamic returned to the Czech Republic after a poor loan spell away in Italy. With Radoslav Kovac and Ondrej Svejdik – both central defenders – also in contention for places on a seven-man bench, Hybs began the 2014-15 season being slightly marginalised. Sometimes he was in the squad, sometimes he wasn’t. It became clear quite quickly that competitive minutes would be few and far between.
He did receive Champions League experience however when Lavicka opted to name a predominantly second string eleven for the away tie against Levadia Tallinn, but like the rest of the team Hybs failed to perform and Sparta stumbled to a 1-1 draw in Estonia. Those would turn out to be the only minutes he’d play for the defending champions.
With chances appearing to be minimal he signed for Vysocina Jihlava on loan in late August.
Agonisingly, his departure coincided with Costa having a horrendous run of form, something which he may have benefitted from if he remained at Sparta.
Since moving south, Hybs has been an ever-present figure for Jihlava and has put in the type of performances that warranted his inclusion on this list. He’s picked up a couple of assists, scored his first league goal and has secured his status as the first choice left-back the Czechs in the build up to the u21 Championships.
Ideally, somebody with a little more impetuous would have pushed through a temporary move last January when it was obvious that he was going to be stuck in Costa’s shadow for a while, but there are two sides to every story and it is doubtful that Lavicka would have acquiesced to those demands without first securing a replacement.
Yet despite treading water in the capital for a while and playing second fiddle for the first few months of the year, 2014 hasn’t exactly been bad for the full-back. Over the past twelve months he has played fifteen league games, become a first-team regular for (what should be) a mid-table Synot Liga club, had a modicum of Champions League experience and has made four appearances for the Czech u21s. Solid, if a little unspectacular we think.
The immediate future should see him help guide Vysocina Jihlava back into the safe clutches of mid-table but it’s more a case of what happens once his loan spell is up that is the big question here. Conceivably he could return to Prague and become second-choice in a title contending side, but is that the right decision? Probably not.
Matej Hybs has the ability to be a top-tier full-back in the Czech Republic, but it’s a case of finding a club that fits. Sparta might not be that team at the moment and looking around the likes of Viktoria Plzen and Jablonec appears to be pretty secure in that area, in the short-term at least. Whether he decides to stay under contract in Prague and head elsewhere on loan or make the leap permanently remains to be seen, but he certainly is good enough – hopefully, he’ll prove that for his country this summer.
- Posted by Chris Boothroyd
- On 2nd January 2015