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Hard-working Schick’s Euro form inspires Leverkusen

Prague (AFP) – Czech Republic striker Patrik Schick on Tuesday relished the form he had taken from Euro 2020 to Leverkusen, for whom he has scored six goals in seven Bundesliga games this season.

“Everything is going to plan,” Schick beamed with Leverkusen sitting second in the Bundesliga, trailing leaders Bayern Munich on goal difference.

At the top of the scoring table, Schick trails only Dortmund’s Erling Haaland and Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski, who have scored seven goals each so far.

The 25-year-old forward, who was the Euro 2020 top scorer with five goals alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, is back in the Czech Republic’s qualifying campaign for next year’s World Cup, facing Wales in Group E in Prague on Friday.

“Everything started at the European Championships where I scored five goals, I took this form also to the Bundesliga and I never stopped working hard,” Schick told reporters.

He hailed new Leverkusen coach Gerardo Seoane, who joined the club in the summer, as well as cooperation with 18-year-old prodigy Florian Wirtz on the pitch.

“We have a new coach who gave the team a new face, we play attractive attacking football — I think we have the players for that at Leverkusen,” Schick said.

“Against last season, we play much more as a team, and the mood in the locker room is much better too, which also has an impact on the pitch,” he added.

“I’m glad I can score like this early into the season, that’s always important for every striker, but on the other hand we have only played seven games so far.”

Schick scored twice in Sunday’s 4-0 Bundesliga win over Bielefeld, netting the second after a pass from Wirtz.

“Florian is an exceptional talent, it is fantastic to watch his progress, to see him grow into a great player,” Schick said about the youngster, an in-house replacement for Kai Havertz who left for Chelsea in 2020.

“I think Leverkusen has a treasure in him,” he added.

During the current stay with the national team, Schick will receive the award for Euro 2020’s second best scorer and for the goal of the tournament.

In the Czech Republic’s opening Euro game, Schick spotted Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall off his line and launched a curling lob from almost 50 metres into the net to hand the Czechs a 2-0 win.

Schick missed the previous two World Cup qualifiers because of a ban following a red card he received for a clumsy foul at Wales in March.

“The red card was weird, but there are no hard feelings. I was just sorry about the ban, and I’ll definitely want to pay them back and score,” Schick said.

The Czechs are second in Group E with seven points from five games. Wales are third with seven points from four games, well behind group leaders Belgium, with 16 points from six games.

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