There are only a few players known of having their two meters or more tall postures. There are Nikola Zigic, the Valencia and Birmingham attacker, Costel Pantilimon, the substitute goalkeeper of Manchester City, and Peter Crouch who can score more than one hundred goals in the Premier League.
For football fans in the 2000s, Jan Koller’s name surely became a familiar name. He is 202 cm tall and always stands out whenever he plays on the green field. The console game players always use him to receive crosses and gastric baits.
Koller is not an ordinary attacker. His career began since he was at Sparta Prague in 1994. Although he had played as a goalkeeper during his junior years, he eventually quitted being a spearhead. Instead of being the goalkeeper, Koller chose to play as an opponent’s goal breaker. At Sparta Prague, his sharpness did not appear and was forced to be sold to a small Belgian club, Lokeren.
He found his best performance at Lokeren. He immediately became the top Belgian League scorer in his first season. For three seasons, Koller scored 43 goals in 97 matches. Then, the Belgian giant, Anderlecht, contracted him. Koller continued to shine there. He won Belgian gold shoes in 2000. During the 1999 to 2001 period, he had scored 42 goals in 62 games.
Even Borussia Dortmund, with its financial strength, did not hesitate to take him. His first season at Signal Iduna Park went smoothly. Along with Die Borussen, they won the Bundesliga award thanks to Koller’s 11 goals. In the following season, he then brought Dortmund to the UEFA Cup final (now The Europe League).
At that time, Koller recalled his childhood as a goalkeeper. His training as a goalkeeper was a little useful in Week 12 of the Bundesliga. He was immediately facing Bayern Munich as the rival.
He had already scored one goal in the eighth minute but was forced to change positions on 67th minutes. The goalkeeper, Jens Lehmann, got a red card due to excessive protest against the referee during the incident of Bayern’s second goal. In a 1-2 lag and they had already used three substitutions, Koller ran to the edge of the field to ask for the Lehmann jersey.
Unlike Harry Kane who made a blunder facing Asteras Tripolis’s free kick, or Rio Ferdinand’s awkward leap against Sulley Muntari’s penalty, Koller looked very confident wearing gloves. He might be happy to be nostalgic as a goalkeeper.
In the remaining 23 minutes, Koller managed to secure a one-on-one situation, hugging Michael Ballack’s hard kick from the edge of the penalty area and cutting off Bixente Lizarazu’s cross bait. Added with his overlap when Dortmund got a corner kick, Koller managed to make the match as the most interesting match in Bundesliga history.
With a few “save” that made him looked like a real goalkeeper, Koller got many praises from the public. Kickers Daily rewarded Koller as the Bundesliga’s best goalkeeper during that week. “Koller as the goalkeeper” will be remembered as one of the best ‘outfield’ players.
Koller ended his career in 2011 with Cannes in the French League second division. In the Czech Republic national team, he closed his sheet with a collection of 55 goals in 91 appearances, a record which has until now become an all-time record…