Some Bohemians’ fans would be forgiven for thinking the team could improve on their impressive 8th place finish last season. With some great results at the back end of 2014-15, and the news that Roman Pivarník and his coaching staff were set to continue, Bohemka had found at least a little stability which was lacking for many years. Since that time however, some high-profile players have left for greener pastures.
Jakub Rada has left for Mlada Boleslav and European glory, a move probably signed, sealed and delivered during last season’s winter break. The midfield void left by Rada will be the biggest gap to fill for Bohemians this term. Even though he failed to impose himself in numerous games last season, it has to be noted, he did step up on more than a few occasions, single-handedly dragging his team over the line in a 3-2 comeback in Budejovice, and two weeks later, a crucial last-minute penalty won and converted against Liberec, being the particular highlights.
Last season: 8th
Odds: 750/1 (Bwin)
Elvis Bratanovic has finished his loan spell and returned to the grinning business cats of Teplice. Elvis, once reviled from the kotel (in the same way Ivan Lietava was previously), silenced his doubters with a flurry of goals in the twilight of last season, earning Bohemians seven points in the process. His creative link-up play, important assists and the simple fact that he brought the best out of lone striker Matus Mikus seemed to go unnoticed for much of the season. Jan Moravec, the long serving klokan, has also all departed the Dolicek. Nicknamed ‘Zip’ after his lightning pace, the diminutive midfielder leaves behind a frankly slow, and aging midfield.
If trainer Pivarnik opts for a 5 man midfield, we could see Josef Jindrisek, Marek Jarolim and recent arrival Tomas Cizek grace the field together with their combined experience of 101 years. The arrival of 23 year old Milan Jirasek, on a two-year deal from Sparta Prague, should provide some much needed youth in what could be a rather aging midfield. After a brief stint at Inter Milan’s youth setup, he returned to his boyhood Sparta where he only managed a few forays onto the Letna turf. With Banik not exercising the right to sign him permanently last season, and after a less than auspicious start to life at the Dolicek, fans will be hoping he can quickly progress.
There are some green shoots in this corner of Vrsovice however: Goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal has now signed permanently with the club where he once again links up with Ales Skerle, his former teammate at Sigma Olomouc. Lukas Pauschek once again arrives on loan, a welcome capture as the Slovak Under-21 international put in a few great performances from right-back throughout the campaign.
The jury is still out on Pivarnik for lots of the Bohemians’ faithful. While getting his side playing some of the best football in years – the 2-1 win against Slavia in at home being the prime example – he failed to find the key to winning crucial games; a dire 0-0 with Brno and a 1-0 loss away to Hradec Kralove still have the power to infuriate.
With some decent opening fixtures, and five successive weeks in Prague from round 10-14, Bohemians will hope to pick up a decent amount of points before the winter break, enough to only have a few worries left come next summer. But things are never simple are they?
Matus Mikus – Having already missed the start of pre-season, the Vrsovice outfit need the Slovakian striker to hit the ground running, and improve on his tally of seven goals last season. Mikus, the only established striker in the squad, needs to get goals this season, and lots of them.
One to watch
Zoran Gajic – Arriving in Prague during the winter break, the twenty-five year-old Serbian went straight into the squad and put in a number of commanding performances. The tough-looking centre-back will hope to forge a partnership with the experienced Skerle once again.
This preview was penned by J.G. Williams, who can be followed on twitter here. Anyway, he watches Bohemians, knows his onions (so to speak) and is looking to start doing some football video content in the not too distant future.
- Posted by Chris Boothroyd
- On 22nd July 2015