After lighting up the Juniorska Liga with Zbrojovka Brno – and spending some time with SK Lisen in the Czech fourth division – Stanislav Vavra has quickly established himself as a focal point of the Zbrojovka front three. With three goals in the league this season looks set to be another highly promising attacking player that has graduated through the academy of the Moravian side.
Who is Stanislav Vavra?
There is a story that has made the rounds on the Srbska terraces that at one point during a preseason friendly a couple of years ago Stanislav Vavra was hounded by senior members of the Brno side for making a handful of mistakes. Given his chance in an intimate atmosphere, as these preparatory fixtures tend to be, the teenager buckled after a shaky start and an older group of players rounded on the youngster.
Now though, some while after that incident, Stanislav Vavra exudes confidence, personality and work-rate, and he is quickly becoming a firm favourite in the Czech Republic’s second city.
Vavra made his bow for Zbrojovka Brno in 2012 when the club was in the second division – a meaningless two minute cameo against Most – and then spent the following two years excelling in, yet lingering in, Brno’s now defunct B-side in the third division, the u21s in the Juniorska Liga and Lisen, a semi-professional fourth tier outfit with strong links to Zbrojovka.
Since 2012 Vavra predominantly represented the club in the fledgling Juniorska Liga. Such was his ability in the u21 competition that he won the Player of the Season award last season as his twenty-one goals saw him finish as the league’s top scorer and helped propel Brno to a second placed finish. To go alongside his prolific form in the junior tournament, the twenty-one year-old played five times for Lisen in Divize D, making five appearances and scoring four goals.
Kotal, who helped bring Vaclav Pilar through at Hradec Kralove, and took over in Brno during the course of last season had seen enough and gave the striker a twenty-minute stint off the bench against Jablonec at the tail end of last season. Vavra duly notched up an assist as Zbrojovka picked up a late victory in the north of the country.
If there was any doubt in Kotal’s mind they’d been eradicated. Vavra again made substitute appearances against Jablonec and Hradec Kralove at the beginning of this campaign, but by the third week he was installed as the club’s main striker. His first goal came the following week against Ceske Budejovice and he figuratively hasn’t looked back since.
When Brno played Slavia Prague at Eden last week he ran rings around Martin Latka, scored twice and walked away with a perfect rating from iDnes. Subsequently, the media cooed over the Kromeriz native and rightly so.
If youthful exuberance is a strength than Stanislav Vavra is one of the strongest in the Synot Liga at the moment; it also explains as to why Kotal has taken to him so quickly.
One of most tactically interesting in the Czech Republic Kotal has moulded Zbrojovka from a rather rigid and uninspiring side to one that employs a flexible 3-4-3 formation. At the tip of the attack is Vavra, but he also switches positions with the wide-forwards and acts as an auxiliary winger.
This role requires him to run, a lot, and can often leave him isolated if Brno is forced into a defensive shape – not that it matters to him. Against Teplice he ran himself into the ground to the applause of the Brno supporters and the week prior he had appeared everywhere in his best display to date.
He doesn’t just ‘do a job’ out wide either; his ability to cut inside and breeze past defenders was on display against Slavia – despite both of his goals coming from central position – and in his short career he has, literally, chipped in with a couple of assists from wide areas, a key ability that Kotal clearly admires.
But it is in the penalty area when things are going on around him that his poacher’s mind takes over: Impressively he appears in the right place at the right time.
Despite his promise it is hard to see him being an immediate starter or consistent first-team player in many other clubs in the Czech first division. Given Kotal’s approach, certain players fill specific roles and he could find it problematic to fit in under a more conservative coach.
Also it is evident that his performances do tend to drop off a little when detached from the rest of the side. If Brno are forced back and Vavra is left alone he’ll run and run, but he needs support around him to truly influence proceedings.
With the European Under-21 Championships being held on Czech soil there is no reason as to why Vavra cannot be in the home side’s squad for the tournament and if he is to continue this upward trajectory he really should make the final 23 next summer.
But up to this point he hasn’t represented his country at any level, something which may count against him as the days pass by.
- Posted by Chris Boothroyd
- On 21st September 2014