He may not be the most dynamic, fluid or exhilarating striker, but the goals of Bas Dost can no longer be ignored. Dost’s second half of the Bundesliga season was seen as a flash in the pan by many, however, the Wolfsburg man has started where he left off this term and is showing few signs of letting up. As the Oranje crashed out of Euro qualifying in an embarrassing fashion, they did so without a leading marksman, so is Dost now the answer asks Alex Blinston.
Go back twelve months and any talk of Bas Dost being deserving of an Oranje call-up would have been first laughed at, and then duly dismissed with good reason. The Netherlands were coming off a 3rd place at the World Cup; an overachievement by any means, and Dost was keeping the bench toasty at Wolfsburg.
Well, what a difference twelve months can make. 2015 has seen Dost flourish in to the striker that many were expecting when he made the switch to Lower Saxony in 2012 after a 32 goal season with Heerenveen. In the last six months Dost has scored four in a game against Bayer Leverkusen, got on the scoresheet in the DFB Pokal final and be part of a Wolfsburg side that came 2nd behind the untouchable Bayern Munich; however, he is still yet to make his impact with the Dutch Lion on his chest.
There is only one reason for this: he hasn’t been awarded the chance. The football purists will point to his technical flaws; that he doesn’t fit the Totaal Voetbal theory that is deeply embedded in to Dutch football. However, neither does Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, the man with 76 caps and 42 goals to his name for country and his career with the national side, on an individual basis if nothing else, has been a success.
Guus Hiddink and Danny Blind persisted with the duo of Robin Van Persie and Huntelaar, whose powers are both waning; leaving Dost had to watch from the side-lines as he made just two substitute appearances in Euro qualifying.
This is not to take away from the prestige of Van Persie and Huntelaar – after all they are first and second respectively in the Netherlands’ all-time leading scorers list – but the mistake of picking stature over form may have been a costly one. Of course hindsight is a beautiful thing, but Dost has scored 25 club goals in 2015 – the aforementioned duo have only accrued 17 between them in the same time.
Unlike Wolfsburg’s backers, Volkswagen, Bas Dost’s reputation is only growing, and the sceptics who described his form last season as fleeting period of success, are quickly diminishing. The 26-year-old has averaged a Bundesliga goal every 96 minutes in the Bundesliga last term, compared to a goal every 120 minutes this season but it would have been ludicrous to expect Dost to maintain his pace from last term. Dost epitomizes the traditional no.9: dominating in the air and clinical in front of goal – his conversion rate (37.2%) was the best of all players in Europe’s top five leagues last term.
While Wolfsburg boss Dieter Hecking has slammed Dost for being ‘egotistical’, a common problem with Dutch front men, his showings this season will have gone some way to get him back in to Hecking’s good books.
Johan Cruyff – who I would like to wish support to in his battle with lung cancer – famously said, “It’s better to go down with your own vision than with someone else’s.” His vision, and the Dutch vision will always be Totaal Voetbal, something Bas Dost will never fit in to. However, Cruyff also said, “Every disadvantage has its advantage” and bare this in mind with Bas Dost and the direction the Netherlands should take. Dost isn’t aesthetically pleasing, like many of his predecessors have been; however, he has a lot to offer an Oranje side that needs to stray away from Totaal Voetbal.