From Faas Wilkes to Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, via Marco van Basten and Ruud van Nistelrooy, no nation specialises in tall, technically-gifted forwards quite like the Netherlands. In Heerenveen's Bas Dost, they may have unearthed another gangly goal-getter to uphold the tradition.
When Dost looks back upon his career, he will have reason to remember December 10, 2011 with special fondness. It was on Saturday that the 22-year-old catapulted himself into the global headlines by scoring all five goals in Heerenveen's 5-0 victory at Excelsior, and should his career one day take him to the game's giddiest heights, he may reflect that it was at Rotterdam's tiny Stadion Woudestein that it all started in earnest.
Dost's quintuple was a lesson in the art of penalty area predation - three headers, two adroit right-foot finishes, and none scored from a range of more than 10 yards. The goals took his tally for the season to 14, elevating him to the top of the Eredivisie scoring charts in one fell swoop, but although Excelsior are currently the weakest team in the Dutch top flight, Dost is no flat-track bully.
He broke the deadlock with a close-range finish when Heerenveen thrashed league leaders AZ Alkmaar 5-1 eight days ago, having netted a hat-trick against ADO Den Haag in his previous appearance. The 6' 3" frontman also produced an equalising goal when his side visited Ajax's Amsterdam ArenA in August, albeit in a match that would end with a 5-1 victory for the hosts. Last season, meanwhile, he scored at both PSV, who would go on to finish third, and eventual champions Ajax.
Born in Deventer in the eastern Dutch region of Overijssel, Dost earned his professional spurs with second-tier Emmen in the 2007-08 season, before joining Heracles Almelo in the summer of 2008.
After managing to score only three goals in his first campaign, he notched 14 in 2009-10 to finish alongside Brazilian strike partner Everton in sixth place in the top scorer standings. A move to Heerenveen followed and, having scored 13 goals last season, the striker with the pleasingly plosive name has already bettered his tally from his debut campaign.
At Heerenveen Dost has found a club with a well-earned reputation for girding attacking players for the rigours of top-level European football. Van Nistelrooy and Huntelaar both launched their careers at Heerenveen, while Dost has been able to learn at the knee of the well-travelled Gerard Sibon, who returned for a third stint at the Abe Lenstra Stadion in June this year and counts Ajax and PSV (not to mention Sheffield Wednesday) among his former clubs.
Heerenveen's ground takes its name from the late Abe Lenstra, the dashing star of the Dutch national side during the 1950s and the first player to give Heerenveen truly national prominence. His memory is evoked each time a Dutch forward distinguishes himself in the club's blue and white stripes and expectation is now high that Dost will go on to emulate the feats of the storied goalscorers who have gone before him.
A member of the Dutch under-21 side that narrowly missed out on a place at this year's European Championship in Denmark, Dost is likely to attract admiring glances from the Eredivisie's traditional powerhouses if his goalscoring exploits continue.
He would be advised not to believe too much of his own hype, though. The last Heerenveen player to score five goals in a game was Afonso Alves, who netted seven times in a 9-0 humiliation of Heracles in 2007, and fans of Middlesbrough will need no reminding about what a flash in the pan that proved to be.
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