Joachim Low’s latest Germany squad contains three uncapped players – Schalke’s talented 19-year-old Leroy Sane alongside stoppers Bernd Leno and Kevin Trapp.
Yet a striker enjoying a new lease of life insists he feels like a new addition to the squad too.
That man is 30-year-old, 60-cap veteran of the German national side, Mario Gomez.
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After he was selected in the friendly defeat to France, it ended a run of 436 days since Gomez’s last national appearance against Argentina.
His last competitive showing was even longer ago; a Euro 2012 defeat to Italy – he has made squads since but not featured, most recently against Scotland during the Euro 2016 qualifiers.
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A resurrection in form for Turkish side Besiktas has prompted Low to go back over old ground and call the forward up, as he fine tunes his squad for next summer's tournament.
But is it an admission that Germany has a lack of emerging forwards and Gomez’s return has longevity or is it a stopgap measure to tackle a deepening worry ahead of France next summer?
Resurgent Gomez after injuries & loss of place
In a real double blow, struggle with injuries left Gomez not only without an international place but without a guaranteed spot in Fiorentina at club level.
Since his last international goals - a brace against the Netherlands at Euro 2012 - those injuries and playing second fiddle to other strikers left him fighting for relevance in his career.
Ankle surgery post-Euro 2012 left him as a latecomer to Bayern’s squad for the 2012/13 season; by the time he returned, new signing Mario Mandzukic had claimed his spot and Gomez was demoted to the bench.
A subsequent move to Fiorentina and an unveiling in front of 20,000 Viola fans resulted in two injury-ravaged seasons in which he scored just seven Serie A goals.
But a loan move to Besiktas has given Gomez an injury-free run for the first time in many seasons – and the results have been positive; eight goals in 11 League appearances, as well as a sole Europa League goal, has seen the lanky striker return to form.
A double strike against fierce rivals Fenerbache will have endeared him into the hearts of Besiktas fans, too.
But more importantly, Gomez has not missed a competitive game since the switch.
And despite the standard of Turkey’s Süper Lig barely matching up to Europe’s elite, a fit and firing Gomez is talented enough to replicate the form on any level.
Lack of competition leaves Gomez an outstanding candidate
But there are also indications that Gomez has been plucked from the wilderness as a final resort by Low.
The manager resorted to a false nine system in Euro 2016 qualification, partly due to a lack of options but aided by Mario Gotze’s emergence post-World Cup.
An uninspiring campaign ensued in which Germany stuttered against inferior opposition – drawing at Signal Iduna Park against Scotland, losing at Republic of Ireland and only putting four past European minnows Gibraltar.
Germany have lacked an out-and-out striker since Miroslav Klose and with Gomez out of form or on the treatment table, the options have been threadbare.
Wolfsburg pair Max Kruse and Andre Schurrle have been in wretched form, particularly the latter while 23-year-old Kevin Volland needs to improve before leading the line alone.
Low has tried to maximise his wealth of attacking midfielders with reasonable success but knows he needs an out-and-out striker to reinforce their status as Europe’s best next summer.
With no other outstanding candidates coming through the ranks, it leaves a returning Gomez as the best hope of banging in the goals for Germany.
And the manager will hope this is in-form, injury-free Mario Gomez is ready to lead the line at Euro 2016 and possibly beyond.
Who should lead the line for Germany at Euro 2016? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!
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