Aussie midfielder Oliver Bozanic is thriving in Switzerland and is targeting a Champions League spot with Luzern and a place on the plane to Brazil 2014.
Bozanic, who made his Socceroos debut in the October win over Canada, moved to the Swiss Super League in June and the Central Coast Mariners grand-final winner has not set a foot wrong since joining the Shiners.
Bozanic has played nearly every game for Luzern this season, missing just two games through injury and once sitting on the bench against St Gallen.
“It's been great,” he said. “It’s gone really well for me so far. When I first came over I fitted in straight away and was playing straight away so I was very happy to be in the team.
“It’s a really nice city, it’s on a lake. It’s a good football club with a good fanbase. I was basically playing every game up until I missed a couple of games with a small ankle injury.”
Bozanic has made 19 appearances for his club in league and cup matches, scoring seven goals. The 25-year old has usually played as an attacking midfielder or in the number 10 role, a change from his left-sided position in a midfield diamond that he usually occupied at the Mariners.
“We play with two central midfielders that are more attacking so it’s good for me, I really like that position to get forward and to get into the box,” Bozanic said.
“I was very fortunate to score seven goals in the first part of the season. I was very happy with that.”
It’s an impressive return for Bozanic considering he scored just three goals in 70 matches in the A-League. The former Olyroo captain is excelling in a competition where Scott Chipperfield made his name with Basel and fellow Socceroo Dario Vidosic plays for FC Sion.
“It’s a very good league,” Bozanic said. “It’s similar [to the A-League] in some ways with 10 teams but you’re in Europe and you’ve got the opportunity to qualify for the Champions League or the Europa League as there’s four spots out of 10 teams.
“There’s so much to play for. It’s probably quicker than the A-League and a lot more attacking.”
Luzern currently sit in fourth place on the table, just four points off league leaders Basel and the Shiners take on former Socceroo Ljubo Milicevic's old side, FC Thun, this week.
“We unfortunately lost last week, which is a bit disappointing for us, but it’s a very close league,” Bozanic said. “We’re in the top four at the moment, but we’re not far away from second and first place. It’s very tight.
“It would be a massive achievement to qualify for Europe obviously from last season when the club finished eighth out of ten. But at the moment it’s just taking it one game at a time. We go into every game winning, we don’t go up against the so-called games to lose. We don’t need to look too far ahead to get back on track.”
This is Bozanic’s second stint in Europe after spending three years in the UK as a teenager. The Avoca FC and Parramatta Eagles junior was with Reading, and went on loan to Woking, Cheltenham Town and Aldershot Town, but was released in 2010 without making a single senior appearance for the Royals.
“I definitely think I’m more mature now and [can] handle a lot more things,” Bozanic said. “I was very young when I first went over and it was difficult being away from family.
"But now I feel it was the right time for me to come back to Europe and I’m able to deal with things on and off the pitch a lot better now. It’s been good so far. Now I just have to keep working hard and look to improve every day.
“It was tough when I was there. I was loaned out to a few of the lower teams but I don’t regret anything, I was at that stage and it was my dream to go to England and play there so I was very happy to have that opportunity to learn.”
With a first Socceroo cap against Canada, Bozanic is eager to earn more. A match scheduled versus Ecuador is coming up in March and with a World Cup on the way, he is keen to be involved.
“I’ve been very happy to part of the Socceroos for the last two camps and I hope to get another opportunity in March,” Bozanic said.
“It was always my dream to play for the Socceroos. Every time you put on the shirt it’s a massive honour and I hope to do that many more times.”5 comments