Andrej Kramaric is an excellent planner. He moved to TSG Hoffenheim in January 2016 and became a regular feature in the Croatian national team thanks to a series of convincing displays in the Bundesliga. Then the striker turned his attentions to the World Cup in Russia – and earned himself a place in the squad. Now the 27-year-old has reached the quarter-finals of that tournament, where a meeting with hosts Russia awaits at 20:00 CET tonight. "Croatia – quarter finaaaaallllllllllll", wrote Kramaric on his Instagram account after the nerve-wracking penalty shootout victory over Denmark.
Today's match will be a highlight of the tournament – and the 27-year-old's career. Having enjoyed a fantastic season in Hoffenheim, where he made a decisive contribution as the club qualified for the Champions League proper for the first time, Kramaric has delivered some convincing performances in Russia: he has featured in all four Croatia matches and even started the clashes with Nigeria and Iceland.
Hunger for goals
His biggest moment at the World Cup came in the Round of 16 against Denmark, when he remained cool and composed from the spot as he dispatched the first Croatian penalty of the shootout. Kramaric thus paved the way for the Balkan nation to reach the quarter-finals, where he is hoping to score in normal time. "The hunger for goals is what sets an attacker apart," he told our club magazine SPIELFELD in June. Back then, too, he announced his desire to make history with his homeland in Russia. It's already the biggest success in Croatian football since they came third at the 1998 World Cup in France. TSG will be crossing their fingers that Andrej's dream of winning the world title is still alive this time tomorrow.