Will Hoffenheim's Bosnia and Herzegovina international Ermin Bicakcic, a 24-year-old 6'1", 183-pound centre-back, turn into a transfer bust for the club?
To address that question, this article grades Bicakcic's performance against Argentina at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and provides a scouting report on his season for Eintracht Braunschweig.
Bicakcic vs. Argentina Grade: F
Hoffenheim management will feel queasy watching Bicakcic's dysfunctional display in Bosnia and Herzegovina's 2-1 defeat to Argentina.
When Argentine deep-lying forward Lionel Messi delivered a free-kick, Bicakcic did a Ji Dong-Won and ducked underneath the ball, which confused Bosnia and Herzegovina left-back Sead Kolasinac, who deflected the ball into his own net.
The own goal is registered to Kolasinac, but Bicakcic was a big factor in the defensive breakdown.
You could tell Bicakcic was going to mess that up by the way he backed away nervously from the bouncing ball...— Michael Cox (@Zonal_Marking) June 15, 2014
Bicakcic losing it momentarily happened against Hamburg.
He missed a routine clearance, which surprised Bayer Leverkusen's Eintracht Braunschweig loanee Karim Bellarabi.
This led to Hamburg substitute Tolgay Arslan's cross hitting an unaware Bellarabi, thus diverting the ball into the path of Hamburg left attacking midfielder Ivo Ilicevic, who scored.
Bicakcic's non-challenge on Messi was an example of how not to defend.
Seriously though: Bicakcic's challenge? Just awful— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) June 15, 2014
Bosnia and Herzegovina management would be telling Bicakcic: "You clearly did not learn from making a similar non-challenge on Mainz centre-forward Shinji Okazaki."
Bicakcic receives an F grade because he was a defensive liability and he looked lost when shifted out to right-back.
Yes, Bicakcic was awful against Argentina, but he had a decent season for Eintracht Braunschweig.
What Bicakcic Did Well at Eintracht Braunschweig
Having been ranked as the best defender in the 2. Bundesliga during the 2012-13 season, per Kicker, the burden of organising an unheralded back line in the Bundesliga fell to Bicakcic last season.
While Braunschweig were sent back to the 2. Bundesliga, Bicakcic's team had a better defensive record than five clubs that avoided relegation.
|Team||Goals Conceded||Goals Conceded Per Game|
Bicakcic made the Bundesliga Team of the Week three times on a struggling club, per Bild.
Bicakcic excels at blocking shots.
|League Only||Blocked Shots||Blocked Shots Per Game|
Another underrated facet of Bicakcic's game is he sets his feet quickly to contest headers.
He averaged more headers per game (4.3) than Bayern Munich centre-back Dante (3.5).
Hoffenheim finished the season with 19 more points than Braunschweig, but conceded 10 more goals.
Bolstering the defence is Hoffenheim's primary summer transfer window objective.
Hoffenheim have already signed defensive midfielder Pirmin Schwegler from Eintracht Frankfurt, goalkeeper Oliver Baumann from Freiburg and Bicakcic from Braunschweig.
"Ermin is going to give us more stability in our defence," Hoffenheim sporting director Alexander Rosen said, per Bundesliga.com. "[Bicakcic played] impressively in 31 appearances for Braunschweig in the season just ended."
Hoffenheim have taken a risk in Bicakcic, but he was passable for Eintracht Braunschweig.
He can block shots, is strong in the air and has a low fouls-per-game average (0.8).
To avoid being a transfer bust, he must cut out moments of indecision as displayed against Argentina.
Statistics via WhoScored.com