From A-League to Alps: Oliver Bozanic on his Swiss switch

He's been banging in the goals since swapping Gosford for Luzern, and Michael Huguenin has the inside story on Oliver Bozanic's promising career move

It took a phone call from a certain former school bus driver from Wollongong and the interest of Switzerland's all-time leading international goal-scorer to get the deal done but Oliver Bozanic is taking advantage of his second crack at European football.

Bozanic had a frustrating 2012-13 season with injuries ensuring the skilful left-footer struggled to string games together for Central Coast Mariners as the Gosford-based club worked their way towards their maiden A-League championship.

Rehabilitation from knee surgery in the off-season kept the midfielder out of action until Round Eight, while concussion and a dislocated shoulder saw him miss three games in December and two matches in February respectively.

But Bozanic timed his run perfectly, just as he has done to score six goals in as many games for FC Luzern this season, breaking into Central Coast's starting line-up for the Grand Final after Nick Montgomery was suspended.

Bozanic played 90 minutes in the Mariners' 2-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers to lift the A-League Championship Trophy at Allianz Stadium and, after the match, the 24-year-old was immediately on the lookout for a move to Europe after three seasons with Central Coast.

"When I first signed for the Mariners, it was when Arnie (Central Coast head coach Graham Arnold) first signed and he was great," Bozanic told Goal Australia from Luzern.

"He got me back and that was our plan, all the way along, to come back (to Australia) and play and then to go back to Europe.

"He's a great coach and he wants the best for every player that plays for him.

"It was perfect for me to know that he, as well as myself, wanted me to go back overseas. You know, he wants his players to have the opportunity to play in Europe."

Scott Chipperfield, the 68-time Australia international, who famously worked as a part-time school bus driver during his time in the National Soccer League, before moving to Switzerland to win seven league titles with FC Basel, paved the way for Bozanic's transfer to Luzern.

"Firstly, Scott Chipperfield got in contact with me and passed me on to his agent and then from there, it all happened between him and Alex Frei, the (sporting) director here (at Luzern), who was also at Basel," Bozanic said.

"(Frei was) a very big player at Basel, who only just started in this role here."

Bozanic's description of Frei 'as a very big player at Basel' only scratches the surface.

The 34-year-old former striker played 156 games for Basel in two separate stints, scoring 107 times, while he finished his club career with 242 goals in 440 matches having also played for Rennes in France and Borussia Dortmund in Germany.

Frei also scored 42 goals in 86 matches for Switzerland's national team.

For Frei to rate Bozanic speaks volumes for the young Australian's potential and the former Reading youth player has already proven Luzern's sporting director right, with just over a month gone in the 2013-14 Swiss Super League season.

After starting pre-season 'a little underdone', it only took Bozanic one practice match to be upgraded from the second XI to the first team and the Sydney-born midfielder has played every game in all competitions for Carlos Bernegger's side, as Luzern sit second on the Swiss Super League standings.

Luzern won their first game of the season 2-0 over Lausanne, with Bozanic playing 79 minutes in midfield, and in the second round, the Australian scored twice as Bernegger's men lost 4-2 away to FC Aarau.

A week later and Bozanic again notched a brace as Luzern won 3-2 over FC Zurich.

The first goal was a neat volley in the penalty box; while the second, to make it 3-1, saw Bozanic take the ball past Zurich's goalkeeper to reach the byline and he turned to slot home from a tight angle.

"It was 2-1 up until about the 80th minute, then I scored the second one, which was a bit of a tight angle," Bozanic said.

"So that (has) probably (been) my favourite."

When Bozanic played for Central Coast last season, he was generally put at the base of midfield, and the former Olyroos captain is relishing the 'freedom to go forward'.

Bernegger prefers a 4-1-4-1 formation with Bozanic as one of the two central attacking midfielders.

"From the start I was put into more of an attacking position," Bozanic said.

"We play with one defensive midfielder and two attacking midfielders in the middle.

"Straight away I'm able to get into the box a lot more.

"My job is to create and obviously to try and score as well, so just from my new position, I'm able to get into positions to score goals."

Bozanic's form warrants a spot in Holger Osieck's Socceroos squad to take on Brazil in Brasilia on September 6 but the Luzern midfielder is not getting ahead of himself.

"I'm playing in Europe now and I've had a good start but all I can do is focus on what I'm doing here and if he (Osieck) decides to select me in a team, you know, that's great," Bozanic said.

"So I just have to continue to do what I'm doing."

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