Before the 2010-11 season began, Mario Gomez was singled out as a favorite to-be flop of the football media.
Mario Gomez was promoted to the German national team in 2007 after scoring crucial goals for his domestic club, Stuttgart, in their victorious Bundesliga season of that same year. Gomez, however, failed to score goals for Germany. He scored against lesser teams and failed to finish against bigger nations (think of Euro 2008 miss against Austria). These missed opportunities and goalless games saw Gomez give his position back to Klose and Podolski.
His domestic career seemed to be taking a similar route: early success followed by goal droughts. In a mind-boggling transfer fee upwards of $30 million, Gomez was traded from Stuttgart to Bayern Munich in 2009. And after a slow start in his first season—scoring only 10 goals in 29 appearances—Gomez was heavily criticized for his lack of goals. Gomez was being cast as overrated and not worth his salary.
Despite this, by the time the 2010-11 season began, Gomez became an established starter of the Bayern Munich team due to injuries to Miroslav Klose and Ivica Olic. During the season, Mario Gomez proved his critics fallacious. In 44 appearances in all competitions for Bayern Munich during the 2010-11 season, Gomez scored 39 goals, supplemented with 7 assists.
Sure, his goals were not always pretty, but without his finishes Bayern would have finished lower than third in the Bundesliga. Gomez has great positional awareness and his finish is getting more deadly as his confidence rises. He is strong in the air and defines his role as a target man up top. Simply put, Gomez is currently the best striker on the German squad and he deserves his second stint as the top forward moving in the Euro 2012 qualifier matches on June 3 and June 7.
In a recent interview with Goal.com, Gomez stated that he would “always offer [his] services” to Germany. The past few years have seen Gomez on the bench of die Nationalmannschaft, sometimes making an appearance in the last 15 minutes of a game. Despite this, Gomez never complained. He has always maintained his devotion to his best performance and that everything else was to be decided by the coach. This attitude defines professionalism.
A recent rib injury to veteran striker, Miroslav Klose, gave Gomez a chance to impress at the national level once again. Germany’s squad is lacking depth up front and Gomez’ consistency is a sigh of relief to coach Joachim Löw. Currently Gomez and Klose are the only strikers listed on the roster. And despite Miroslav Klose’s wishes to play one last tournament at Euro 2012, Löw should take the opportunity now to establish Gomez as Germany’s number one striker. Klose is turning 33 on June 9 and his age should be a factor considering he will be 34 by the time the European Championships start.
Will Gomez take this golden opportunity as Germany’s top striker just as he did at Bayern a year ago? So far all the signs are saying yes. In his last two games with Germany he has scored two goals against Australia and Uruguay. Next season, I expect more of the same at the domestic level and a much deserved second spell with Germany.