Can Mario Goetze Step Up as Miroslav Klose's Successor?
It's been few days since Germany's impressive 3-2 victory over dispirited Brazil, during which the Germans showcased their young guns after Michael Ballack declined to play in his farewell match. As the web space is flooded with post-match analysis about how great the Germans performed and how disorganized Brazil is at the moment, it will be worthwhile to tackle a major issue for Die Mannschaft.
Miroslav Klose, one of the most underrated strikers of the decade is one of top candidates for All-Time German Greats. He may have born in Poland, but without him, Germany hasn't played the game they are famed for. It may be called a Michael Ballack/Oliver Kahn era for the Nationalmannshaft, but Klose has been the X-factor in the lineup in every major international tournament they have entered.
But the guy is 35 at the moment and without the clinical touch he possessed in his prime, someone needs to step up to the occasion as the first choice center forward.
Mario Gomez is the long time option, but his failure in the international arena will make him hardly a suitable candidate to succeed Klose. But Mario Goetze can be the player who the Germans lacked for some time.
Strange choice it would be considering that a player who plays as a winger for his club will have to replace an out-and-out goal poacher, but considering the other options, Goetze is the most obvious candidate. Thomas Mueller, Aaron Hunt and Andre Schuerrle are the other names who will come to mind when you think about fluidity, but it's not clear whether any other established player is in the Bundesliga to be a candidate.
Who is the best candidate to fill Klose's shoes
Mueller, being one of the hardest working players in Europe is too valuable to lose as a winger as he covers his flank enabling Phillip Lahm to attack. His selflessness and amazing willingness to track back cannot be found in any other back up wingers in the German setup. Hunt is also another battle tested competitor but his poor form at his club Werder Bremen makes him hardly a candidate.
However, if he gets his form, he will be the ideal back up for Mesut Özil as both are similar types of players who are able to channel through defenses and help the midfielders to press forward.
Andre Schuerrle is the obvious option who will give Mario Goetze a real run for his money. He may be not technical as Goetze, but his off the ball movement and understanding offers a great deal for Leow's system. He is one who has the ability to succeed veteran Klose, but considering recent international performances, he may be much better in the wings as a replacement for fan favorite Lukas Podolski (afraid that won't happen because of Podolski's international reputation).
With regard to all of them, Mario Goetze and Andre Schuerrle will be the obvious candidates for long term replacement as the center forward and Goetze will get the nod because he performs better at club level.
Goetze, typically a winger, has the ability to cut inside, dribble into the center and position himself in threatening areas. Even though sometimes called the "German Messi," formerly associated with his international teammate Marko Marin, his attributes are different from the great Argentinian.
He has less technical ability (of course), but a better physicality despite his small frame. Lack of any aerial threat will be a concern for him, but still nowadays that's not the most important attribute for a striker. He is more of a 4-3-3 player than a 4-2-3-1 which Germany favors, but time will tell whether he has the potential to adapt.
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