When most consider Germany's chances at the forthcoming World Cup, they don't often tend to consider an attacking midfield force with the likes of Mario Goetze, Thomas Mueller or Marco Reus as an area that may need further consideration.
Instead they tend to look at Germany's fragile central midfield, with Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira and Philipp Lahm all racing against the clock to get fit in time for their opening game against Portugal on June 16.
Perhaps they may even look past that and run a troubled frown over a back line that will undoubtedly feature former bomb scares Per Mertesacker, Jerome Boateng and Marcel Schmelzer. These are the positions that surely bother coach Joachim Loew rather than his formidable front line, right?
Well, no. For among the star-studded forward line, Loew faces a problem of tactical reasoning rather than the usual faults of simply not having enough good players. The scarf-loving manager may have more than enough attacking midfielders, but he doesn't have the right set of players to form a proper attack. This is where Chelsea's Andre Schurrle comes in.
Who Would He Replace?
The first question that many will surely ask, when confronted with the prospect of Jose Mourinho's 23-year-old inside forward in the Germany first XI, is of course who exactly can we drop?
The answer to that is really quite simple: Arsenal's Lukas Podolski. Although many neutrals may not even consider the wide player as a starter for Germany this summer, Loew has often suggested that he may include the forward—the latest hint coming on May 26 when he stated in a press conference that the forward would "probably not" feature in the starting side as a striker, as reported by Spox.
If we can follow such logic, then we can probably then assume that Loew has selected Podolski due to his more direct route to goal while playing out wide. Yet, when we look at his stats compared to his compatriot at Stamford Bridge, we find that Schurrle may in fact be better suited to such a role.
When Squawka pitch Schurrle and Podolski against one another, we clearly see from the above graph that each player scored eight goals in the English Premier League this season, Schurrle created more chances for his side.
We must take into account that injury meant that Podolski played around 10 fewer games for Arsenal than Schurrle did for Chelsea, but things even themselves up when we then consider that the Arsenal player is five years older than the former Bayer Leverkusen player.
All equal in goal scoring, but the Chelsea forward looked a lot better at creating chances in his debut season in England.
What Would He Bring to This German Side?
As we've already stated, Loew is undoubtedly looking to put together a forward line that is built through reasonable tactical sense rather than a simple case of shoehorning his best three or four attacking players into the system.
As such, we may well see the likes of Bayern Munich's new false striker, Goetze, feature as the most prominent forward in this hybrid system. Which, in turn, means that Loew will be forced to play attacking midfielders who are much more direct in their approach to attacking the opposition half.
This will favour players such as Reus, Mueller and perhaps even Podolski—who often find themselves scoring more than they create—but it also means that we may well have a tactic that could see our plucky Chelsea forward thrive for Die Mannschaft.
In the proposed attacking line-up that we can see above, Loew will likely feature players such Schweinsteiger and Lahm in the central midfield with the ever-present playmaker Mesut Ozil just in front to help create plays from deep.
Yet, when we get to the front three, we see that having Goetze play as the lone striker will naturally force the player to play with his back to goal and allow the wide forwards to exploit the space in behind him: A role that Schurrle simply thrives in.
Not only has Schurrle shown his worth in the Premier League for Chelsea in this past season, he also has the tools to thrive in what could be Loew's preferred formation.
Why Does He Deserve a Place in the Side?
One of the most overlooked aspects of Schurrle's career is the simple fact that the fledgling international has flourished on the international scene, despite being overlooked at Leverkusen and often now at Chelsea.
Although the wide player has never had a constant run in the first team, with the aforementioned competition always seemingly ahead of him in the pecking order, he does have a remarkable record under Loew.
In the qualification group for this World Cup, Schurrle impressed during his limited opportunities for Germany, scoring one goal against Ireland and three against Sweden when given an entire 90 minutes to shine.
As the table above shows, none of Die Mannschaft's likely starters have a better minutes-per-goal ratio than the Chelsea forward. With all stats coming from Transfermarkt.
Give Andre Schurrle a chance to shine at this summer's World Cup, Mr. Loew. You will not regret it.
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