Ahead of Germany v Italy, bwfc.co.uk profile a former Wanderer who was a member of Die Mannschaft's Euro 1996 winning side
Ahead of world champions Germany's Euro 2016 quarter-final clash with Italy, bwfc.co.uk profile a former Wanderers loanee who was a member of the Die Mannschaft squad the last time they won the European Championships back in 1996.
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37 CAPS 10 GOALS
European Championships: 2 (EURO 1996 AND EURO 2004)
Best Stage Reached: WINNERS
Tournament Appearances: 5
Tournament Goals: 0
Reigning world champions Germany hold hopes of ending a 20-year wait to be crowned European champions as they look to win the Euros for a record fourth time this summer.
Former Wanderers loanee Fredi Bobic was a member of the Die Mannschaft squad that last triumphed in the tournament back in 1996, though injury would prevent him playing any part in that year’s final.
Starting his senior career in the early nineties with prolific stints at TSF Ditzingen and Stuttgarter Kickers, the Yugoslavian-born striker joined Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart in 1994.
Quickly replicating his form in front of goal in the top-flight, Bobic soon caught the eye of Germany head coach Berti Vogts and was handed his international debut against Hungary in October 1994.
Netting his maiden Die Mannschaft goal in only his third Germany appearance in a friendly win over Belgium, the forward featured sporadically as Vogts’ side qualified for Euro 1996, making only two late substitute appearances in qualification.
However, he clinched his place in the squad for the tournament after finishing the 1995/96 season as the Bundesliga’s leading goalscorer with 17 goals.
Opening the tournament at Old Trafford against Czech Republic, in a meeting that would prove to be a dress rehearsal for that year’s final, Bobic started for Germany and set up their opening goal for Christian Ziege as Die Mannschaft clinched a 2-0 win.
Benched as they beat Russia 3-0 in their next match, the forward returned to Germany’s starting XI for their final group game as they clinched their place in the knockout stages courtesy of a 0-0 draw against Italy.
Retaining his place for their quarter-final victory over Croatia, injury forced Bobic off at half-time and he would miss the rest of the tournament as a result.
In his absence, Germany went on to win the tournament, beating hosts England on penalties before again triumphing over Czech Republic, this time courtesy of Oliver Bierhoff’s golden goal in the final at Wembley.
Equally prolific for Stuttgart the following season as they went on to win the DFB-Pokal Cup, Bobic returned as first-choice for Germany as they opened their 1998 World Cup qualification campaign.
But despite being on the scoresheet against Armenia, the forward soon fell out of favour and was not selected for the national side between 1998 and 2002.
After joining Borussia Dortmund in 1999, Bolton Wanderers would later sign Bobic on loan in January 2002. And while he would only score four goals during his time with the Whites, his strikes would prove vital come the end of the season as Bolton narrowly avoided the drop.
Netting his first goal in a 3-2 victory over Aston Villa, he followed it up with a memorable hat-trick the following week as the Trotters clinched an emphatic 4-1 victory over relegation rivals Ipswich Town.
Bobic rediscovered his shooting boots the following season after signing for newly-promoted Bundesliga side Hannover 96, as his 14 goals helped the club stay up, before moving on to Hertha Berlin.
Also earning an international recall at the age of 31 shortly after Germany’s 2002 World Cup Final defeat to Brazil, the forward scored in his comeback appearance against the Netherlands and would go on to enjoy his most prolific spell for the national side.
Netting eight goals over the next 18 months, he cemented his place back in the Die Mannschaft squad as they secured their place at Euro 2004, with four of his strikes coming in European qualifiers.
However, it proved to be a tournament to forget for Germany as the curtain came down on Bobic’s international career.
Having come on as a late substitute in their opening 1-1 draw against the Netherlands, the forward started in Die Mannschaft’s disappointing 0-0 draw against minnows Latvia, in what would prove to be his final international appearance.
Unused in their last group game, a 2-1 defeat against Czech Republic saw Germany suffer a shock group-stage exit for the second European Championships running.
Joining Croatian side NK Rijeka in 2005, Bobic scored in their Croatian Cup Final victory over VSNK Varazdin before hanging up his boots after a solitary season with the club, while he most recently served as Stuttgart’s Director of Football between 2010 and 2014.