Samir Toplak (born 23 April 1970) is a Croatian professional football manager and former player who is the current manager of Croatian First Football League club Kustošija.

Samir Toplak
Personal information
Date of birth (1970-04-23) 23 April 1970 (age 53)
Place of birth Varaždin, Croatia
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Position(s) Defender
Team information
Current team
Kustošija (manager)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1988–1998 Varteks
1998–2002 VfL Bochum 69 (3)
2002–2005 Varteks
International career
1994 Croatia 2 (0)
Managerial career
2003–2005 Varteks (youth)
2005–2007 Varteks (assistant)
2010–2011 Varaždin
2011–2012 Cibalia
2012–2013 Gorica
2013–2014 Zelina
2014–2019 Inter Zaprešić
2020 Varaždin
2021 Lokomotiva
2022 Gorica
2023 Kustošija
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Born in Varaždin, Toplak spent most of his playing and managerial career at his hometown club Varteks.

Playing career Edit

Toplak started his career with Varteks, in Varaždin, and spent the first ten seasons of his career there. After proving himself to be one of the best defenders in the top level Prva HNL, Toplak transferred to German Bundesliga club VfL Bochum.[1] He spent four seasons in Germany, where the club floated between first and second division. Toplak returned to Varteks in the summer of 2002, for the last season of his top-level football career.[1]

He played two friendly matches for Croatia in 1994, against Slovakia and Israel.[2]

Managerial career Edit

During his last two years as a player, Toplak had started working as a youth coach in the Varteks system. Upon retirement, he became a club director and became an assistant manager (2005–2007) with the senior team. In 2010, Toplak was hired as manager of the senior team, the same year that it changed its name to NK Varaždin. He led the relatively young team, consisting mainly of Varaždin's home grown players, to a successful 2011–12 UEFA Europa League campaign, beating FC Lusitanos and Iskra-Stal before they were stopped in the third qualifying round by Romanian powerhouse Dinamo București in a narrow two leg encounter. However, the success in UEFA play was soon overshadowed when the club went bankrupt and was demoted to the very bottom of the Croatian football league system.

In August 2011 Toplak took over another Prva HNL club, HNK Cibalia, from Vinkovci.[3] In the 2011–12 Prva HNL season, Toplak led Cibalia to a top table position and the semi-finals of the Croatian Cup. However, due to disagreements with the club's executive board, Toplak chose to leave Vinkovci in July 2012.

In December 2012, Toplak was appointed as manager of HNK Gorica, a second-level Druga HNL side located in Velika Gorica. Gorica's first half of the 2012–13 Druga HNL season had been disastrous, and they finished the first half in the relegation zone. Toplak was hired to bring the club back to the top of the chart by the end of the season. After failing to move Gorica out of the relegation zone, Toplak resigned on 20 April 2013, six games before the end of the season (Gorica did avoid relegation when other teams dropped below them during those last six games).

After leaving Gorica, Toplak took over the managerial position for another Druga HNL side, NK Zelina, succeeding Dražen Biškup.[4] After a disastrous 2013–14 season, during which Zelina struggled on the bottom of the table, Toplak resigned in April 2014.

Toplak was soon hired by Druga HNL side Inter Zaprešić. Inter and Toplak's primary goal was to secure promotion to the Prva HNL, and this goal was accomplished by finishing as champion of the 2014–15 season. They played in the Prva HNL the following season, their only goal being to avoid relegation. However, they exceeded their target by finishing the season in the middle of the league chart. The club played in the Prva HNL through the next four seasons, but during the first half of the 2019–20 season, with the club in near the bottom (8th) of the league table, Toplak was sacked on 4 January 2020.[5]

On 10 February 2020, just a few weeks after leaving Inter Zaprešić, Toplak was hired to manage Prva HNL side NK Varaždin (no relation to the long defunct Varteks/Varaždin club he previously worked with), which was at the bottom (10th) of the league table. Toplak was able to guide the team to an 8th-place finish, while Inter Zaprešić fell to last place and was relegated to Druga HNL for the 2020–21 season. Toplak was dismissed by Varaždin in December 2020.[6]

On 14 March 2021, he succeeded Jerko Leko as manager of Prva HNL side NK Lokomotiva.[7] After another six-months spell at HNK Gorica in 2022,[8] he was appointed manager of Kustošija in March 2023.[9]

Personal life Edit

In 1994 Toplak married his girlfriend of two years, Vesna. Two years later, they had their first daughter, Lana, and three years after that, while living in Bochum, Germany, daughter Bianka was born. In 2004 Toplak settled down with his family in a small village outside of Varaždin.

Career statistics Edit

Appearances and goals by club, season and competition[10][11]
Club Season League Cup Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
NK Varteks 1992–93 Prva HNL 27 0
1993–94 28 1
1994–95 29 0
1995–96 24 0
1996–97 14 0
1997–98 28 1
Total 150 2
VfL Bochum 1998–99 Bundesliga 23 1 2 0 25 1
1999–00 2. Bundesliga 15 1 1 0 16 1
2000–01 Bundesliga 10 0 0 0 10 0
2001–02 2. Bundesliga 17 1 1 0 18 1
Total 65 3 4 0 69 3
NK Varteks 2002–03 Prva HNL 22 0
Career total

Managerial statistics Edit

As of 26 August 2022
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Varaždin 13 March 2010 12 August 2011 52 16 16 20 030.77
Cibalia 23 August 2011 15 July 2012 24 11 5 8 045.83
Gorica 1 December 2012 4 March 2013 9 2 5 2 022.22
Zelina 2 September 2013 17 March 2014 12 2 5 5 016.67
Inter Zaprešić 29 April 2014 10 January 2020 213 69 56 88 032.39
Varaždin 23 February 2020 7 December 2020 31 11 6 14 035.48
Lokomotiva 14 March 2021 28 May 2021 11 3 1 7 027.27
Gorica 04 March 2022 "Present" 22 6 7 9 027.27
Total 375 120 102 153 032.00

References Edit

  1. ^ a b "Toplak, Samir". Kicker (in German). Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  2. ^ "Player Database". EU-football. Retrieved 2 January 2023.
  3. ^ Samir Toplak novi trener Cibalije - Vecernji (in Croatian)
  4. ^ Samir Toplak - novi trener Zeline - NK Zelina (in Croatian)
  5. ^ Turbulentno u Zaprešiću: Samir Toplak dobio otkaz, poznato ime njegovog nasljednika! - Germanijak (in Croatian)
  7. ^ "Samir Toplak je novi trener Lokomotive" (in Croatian). NK Lokomotiva. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  8. ^ Samir Toplak više nije trener Gorice - Index (in Croatian)
  9. ^ Samir Toplak preuzeo Kustošiju, pretposljednju momčad druge lige - Varaž (in Croatian)
  10. ^ "Samir Toplak". Fussball Daten (in German). Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  11. ^ "Samir Toplak". National Football Teams. Retrieved 28 September 2014.

External links Edit