Mindaugas Kulbis/Associated Press
Every team has its stars and pivotal players, but for Bosnia and Herzegovina, these are not always the same thing.
Even though they might not be household names pr play at top clubs, these three players have been crucial to Bosnia's qualification hopes, each bringing something different to the table and bringing stability to Safet Susic's roster, allowing him to find regularity and support his top players with a sense of normalcy.
Haris Medunjanin (Gaziantepspor), 29 years old, 34 caps, 5 goals
Born in Sarajevo but escaping his native country due to the war, Medunjanin took his first football steps in the Netherlands, even representing the country's Under-21 team with four caps and three goals.
In 2009, the Bosnian manager Miroslav Blazevic reached out to Medunjanin to represent his native Bosnia and Herzegovina. The rest is history.
Since his debut, Medunjanin has been an integral part of Bosnia's midfield, at times playing the traditional central midfield role, at times a defensive midfielder and other times on the wings. His technique and flexibility have made him a favorite with Safet Susic, who has often used him as a sole defensive midfielder in the 4-4-2 formation.
Sead Kolasinac (Schalke), 20 years old, 2 caps, 0 goals
Traditionally the defense has been the most problematic aspect of the Bosnian national team. The left-back situation in particular has been a revolving door, with Sejad Salihovic (Hoffenheim) and Senad Lulic (Lazio) alternating as the starters.
Neither of these players is a traditional left-back, leaving the defense exposed as both Salihovic and Lulic would rush to aid in attack or drift into midfield at times.
With the young Schalke starter Sead Kolasinac, Safet Susic has finally found his starting left-back. The player has recently emerged from the Schalke youth ranks, cementing himself as a starter in the Bundesliga and Champions League.
Vedad Ibisevic (Stuttgart), 29 years old, 51 caps, 20 goals
It's very hard to leave out a player who scores eight goals in World Cup 2014 qualification for his country.
Together with Edin Dzeko, the tandem's goal tally equalled 18 goals out of the total 30. Even harder, considering Ibisevic scored the crucial clinching goal against Lithuania that sent Bosnia and Herzegovina to its first World Cup in history.
Ibisevic has been a crucial part of Bosnia's team since his debut in 2007. The one-time St. Louis high school football player came a long way, playing all across Europe before finally landing in Stuttgart.
This season, even though he scored 15 goals for his club—10 in the Bundesliga—his form has drastically dipped since his red card against Augsburg on February 9, which resulted in a five-match ban.
Since then, Ibisevic has failed to score a single goal, leading to early substitutions from the manager.