Football

Germany face striker crisis ahead of World Cup

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Throughout the history of the World Cup finals, Germany have had a knack of producing and showcasing some of the most lethal strikers that international football has bared witness to.

Whether that be the iconic Helmut Rahn who single-handedly won the former West Germany its first ever World Cup in 1954, Gerd Muller who revolutionised the modern elegance of the tournament in 1974 or Jurgen Klinsmann, who led a newly-reunified German attack in 1990.

Over the years, the German national football team have set a significant amount of fear into the hearts of their opponents with an ever efficient strike-force contributing to significant wins.

However, Germany’s inability in fostering a new generation of attackers in comparison to the giants of international football such as Spain and Italy, whilst also failing to sustain a regularly named strike-force, has severely damaged their chances of securing a fourth world title in Brazil.

With just under four months until the World Cup kicks off in Rio de Janeiro, pressure will be mounting on Joachim Low to choose a well-balanced 23 man squad, with enough maturity, youth and hunger to deliver Germany its first taste of international glory in 24 years.

The DFB delegation alongside the German media, clearly strongly feel that the time is ripe for Low to deliver Germany its fourth World Cup title, although the 54-year-old’s decision to turn a blind eye to his striker crisis could result with the “Eagles” leaving Brazil empty handed once again.

Since Low took over from Jurgen Klinsmann as the manager of Germany in 2006, he has heavily relied on Miroslav Klose to score the goals needed for the three time FIFA World Cup winners to secure hasty qualification, whilst also progressing through international competitions.

Klose will be 36 by the time the World Cup kicks off in June and despite being regarded by many as a lethal striker who is extremely reliable upon the international stage, it is clear that his age is finally catching up with him.

The former Bayern Munich striker - who just needs two more goals to beat Ronaldo’s record of 15 goals scored in the World Cup - has recently been plagued by a toxic combination of injury and inconsistency, which has affected both his international and club career.

Klose has only been able to score five goals for Lazio in every competition this season, with the 2006 World Cup Golden Boot winner looking visibly tired and withdrawn during his recent appearances for the Rome outfit.

Don’t get me wrong, Klose is one of the most lethal strikers in the world let alone Europe, but the fact that he has only managed to find the net once for Germany in 2013 indicates that he is on the wane and unlikely to pose as much of a threat as he did in either the 2006 or 2012 World Cup.

Another problem surrounding the former Werder Bremen striker is that Germany are only able to get the best out his tired old legs when he is played as a lone striker, with experiments such as partnering him with Mario Gomez and Max Kruse often bearing fruitless results.

It is obvious to say that Low will be thrilled to see Gomez return for Fiorentina following a five month lay-off with a knee injury, with the striker aiming to find form with the hope of becoming an integral part of Germany’s strike-force.

However, despite scoring over 300 hundred goals during spells at both VfB Stuttgart and Bayern Munich, Gomez has failed to live up to his reputation upon the world stage.

During the last three tournaments in which Gomez has represented Joachim Low’s side, he has only been able to score a measly two goals, whilst also failing to find the net during the entirety of Germany’s World Cup qualification campaign.

It has been 20 months since Gomez scored a brace in Germany’s 2-1 victory against the Netherlands at Euro 2012 and it is fair to say that the Riedlingen-born striker has become something of a forgotten man for Low.

Like Klose, the former VfB striker seems to be a receding wall-flower when he is partnered with another attacker and fares best when he play’s in Germany’s typical style of a 4-5-1 system.

One further possibility to solve Germany’s attacking crisis is for Low to bring Bayer Leverkusen’s Stefan Kieβling out of his international limbo by selecting the striker for Germany’s upcoming games against the likes of Chile in March and Cameroon and Armenia in June.

For the majority of Kieβling’s career he has thrived whilst playing alongside another striker and he could be just the man to line up alongside either Klose or Gomez in the crux of Germany’s attack.

The 30-year-old is a striker of the highest calibre, with Low coming under more pressure especially from the German media to include the former FC Nurenberg player in his plans for the World Cup.

If anything, his nomination would provide Low with more options upfront whilst he might become the ying to either Klose or Gomez’s yang in terms of getting the best out of their recent scoring conundrums.

Although Max Kruse looks like a long-term answer to the imminent retirement of Klose, it is obvious that he isn’t quite ready to lead the German attack this summer.

So if Low continued to be firm in his decision not to choose Kieβling for international selection he might be tempted to partner Lukas Podolski alongside Klose, something which worked to great effect during the 2006 World Cup.

The Polish-born pair scored a total of eight goals for Germany during the tournament and although Podolski is usually deployed as a winger for both Arsenal and Germany, his speed and Klose’s eye for goal might be a partnership in heaven despite their age.

One thing that is for sure is that Low seriously needs to give a great amount of thought into whether he is to stick with playing just Klose up front or twist by bringing Kieβling out of the darkness, or giving Kruse his chance in the limelight.

Germany’s chance of securing their fourth world title might just depend on it.

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Topics:
World Cup
Germany Football
Internationals
Football

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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