Matěj Vydra (Czech pronunciation: [ˈmacɛj ˈvɪdra], born 1 May 1992) is a Czech professional footballer who plays as a striker for English club Derby County and the Czech Republic national team. He has previously played for Vysočina Jihlava, Baník Ostrava, Club Brugge, Udinese and Watford. He has also spent two loan spells at Watford.
Vydra joined Baník Ostrava from Vysočina Jihlava in January 2010 at the age of 17 for 20 million CZK. He spent six months at Baník Ostrava, where he scored four goals in 14 matches.
In June 2010, Vydra moved to Serie A side Udinese and was also voted by sports journalists the Czech Revelation of the Year for his performances at Baník Ostrava in the 2009–10 season. He joined Club Brugge on loan in August 2011 but returned to Udinese having played just two games due to an injury.
In July 2012, it was confirmed he had been loaned to Watford for the 2012–13 season. Vydra scored his first goal for Watford when he netted the winner against Crystal Palace on 18 August 2012, in a game which finished 3–2.
He scored a goal against Leeds United on 10 November. Vydra then scored goals in successive matches in a 2–0 win against Nottingham Forest on 22 December 2012 and in a 3–1 away win over Brighton & Hove Albion on 29 December 2012. He scored another brace on 12 January 2013 against Middlesbrough. Vydra carried on his rich vein of form by netting another goal the week after, on 19 January 2013 against Huddersfield and then netted his third goal in as many games a week later, scoring twice on 26 January 2013 in a 3–0 win away to Nottingham Forest. He was in fine form, and netted another goal in his next start against Bolton on 2 February 2013. The match eventually finished 2–1 to Watford, with Vydra assisting Almen Abdi's winning goal. After three matches without a goal, Vydra netted his 20th goal of the campaign in a 2–1 win over Derby County on 23 February 2013.
On 25 March 2013 it was announced that he had won the 2012/13 Championship Player of the Season award in his first season in English football. Vydra won the award ahead of Glenn Murray of Crystal Palace and Blackpool's Thomas Ince. Despite going on a run in which he didn't score in 13 games, he went on to score twice in the semi-final of the end-of-season play-offs in a 3–2 aggregate win over Leicester. Vydra's season at Watford finished in disappointment as his club lost the chance to be promoted to the English top-flight after losing the play-off final against Crystal Palace and he injured his ankle during the match, having to be substituted at half time.
West Bromwich Albion (loan)
Vydra joined Premier League club West Bromwich Albion on a season-long loan deal on 13 August 2013. He scored his first goal for the club on 21 December 2013, equalising for West Brom in a 1–1 Premier League draw against Hull City. On 22 February 2014, Vydra scored his second goal for West Brom, equalising in a 1–1 draw against Fulham. His third goal for the club came in a 3–3 draw against Tottenham, with Vydra scoring the game's first goal after 28 seconds.
Return to Watford
On 26 June 2014, Watford announced they had re-signed Vydra on a season-long loan from Udinese, with a view to a permanent move. Vydra made a scoring return as he netted in Watford's 3–0 opening day win over Bolton Wanderers on 9 August 2014. On 25 April, he came on as a substitute to score as Watford beat Brighton & Hove Albion 2–0 at the Falmer Stadium thus securing Watford's promotion back to the Premier League, thanks to other results going their way.
Watford acquired Vydra permanently in July 2015 with the player signing a five-year contract.
On 1 September 2015, Reading signed Vydra on a season-long loan for a fee of £2.5 million with an option to sign him permanently for £10 million if promoted to the Premier League in the 2016–17 season. On 19 January 2016 in a FA Cup Third Round Replay, he scored a hat-trick in a 5–2 comeback victory over Huddersfield Town.
On 27 August 2016, Derby County announced that they had signed Watford striker Vydra on a four-year deal, for a fee reported at £8,000,000. He scored his first goal for the club in a 2–1 loss to Blackburn Rovers on 24 September 2016.
Vydra played for five Czech youth national teams between under-16 and under-21 levels. In August 2012 he was called up to the Czech senior team for the first time, for a World Cup qualifying match away to Denmark and a friendly match against Finland. Vydra played the first 73 minutes against Denmark, in a game that finished as a goalless draw. He scored his first goal, a header, for the national team on 26 March 2013 in a World Cup qualifier against Armenia, to open the scoring in a 3–0 victory. Vydra also scored the second goal of the game, robbing an Armenian defender of the ball before slotting past the keeper.
- Scores and results list Czech Republic's goal tally first.
|1.||26 March 2013||Republican Stadium, Yerevan||Armenia||1–0||3–0||2014 World Cup qualifier|
|3.||5 March 2014||Eden Arena, Prague||Norway||2–1||2–2||Friendly|
|4.||21 May 2014||Olympic Stadium, Helsinki||Finland||1–1||2–2||Friendly|
|5.||29 March 2016||Friends Arena, Stockholm||Sweden||1–1||1–1||Friendly|
- As of 18 December 2016
|West Bromwich Albion||2013–14||23||3||1||0||1||0||-||-||-||-||25||3|
- Football League Championship Player of the Month: January 2013
- Football League Championship Player of the Year: 2013
- PFA Team of the Year: 2012–13 Championship