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The Deutsche Mannschaft Attacking Revolution

Every student of world history or German would be familiar with the term Blitzkrieg. Those of you who never paid much attention in history class allow me to explain this term. Blitzkrieg translates as “Lightning War” . It is a method of warfare whereby an attacking force spearheaded by a dense formation forces a breakthrough into the enemy’s rear through a series of deep thrusts; and once in the enemy’s rear, proceeds to dislocate them by utilizing speed and surprise, and then encircle them. This is what Hitler’s Germany did to Poland, France and basically any resistance in their path. And this is what Klinsmann & Joachim Loew’s Mannschaft have been doing to their opposition. But as you may very well remember Germany are famous for winning the battles in style but losing the war. And this has continued in the past decade right from the 2002 World Cup to the recent Euro 2012. But since 2010 Germany have been blessed to produce top attacking midfielders to leave any opposition reeling. Throughout the 2010 World Cup, Germany impressed one and all with its attractive attacking football. The team had scored most goals in the tournament, 16 in comparison to title winners Spain who had 8. The German team became the first team since Brazil in 1982 to have the highest goal difference in a World Cup and not win it. Germany is a team in transition in its structure, but in terms of its style it maintains the same form. Though the players have different origins they play like a unit, the passes are magnificent, the attack like a dream. This seamless game is the main reason why fans love watching Germany play. This article is about those attacking midfielders/wingers who have made the German national football team a menacing attacking force to reckon with. The best news for any German football fan is that these lads are all below 25 years of age and have already mesmerized the world with their talent.

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Mesut Özil

 

Personally for me he is the best attacking midfielder of the lot. He made his mark internationally in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He was part of the team that demolished England and Argentina with their devastating counter attacks and swift passing. Last season Özil put in more assists than Xavi and Iniesta combined in the La Liga. Donning the legendary no 10 for the Los Blancos, Özil has already been likened to the legendary Zinadine Zidane.  Possessing superb ball control and an uncanny awareness of what’s happening around the pitch Özil makes precise assists and also boasts a powerful shot from distance. His attacking midfield partnership with his fellow German team mate Mario Götze has earned the magical duo ‘Gotzil’ thanks to their similarities in  technique , position and style of play. Germany under-21 manager Horst Hrubesch once said, “We in Germany are prone to rave about foreign players. We praise Wayne Rooney to the heavens, likewise Ronaldo or Messi. But we have our own Messi. Our Messi is Özil.” There is a bit of Luis Figo and Zinadine Zidane in him. Like all great players this young German of Turkish descent is set to take the world by storm in the future.

Mario Götze

An amazing talent of the German CAM revolution of late. Product of the Borussia Dortmund youth system his technique has attracted praise from the great Beckenbauer as well. Franz Beckenbauer spoke about Götze, along with Marco Reus, saying, “…as a classic duo there is nobody better than the prolific Reus and Götze.” His deadly combinations with both Marco Reus and Robert Lewandowski have left opposition defences reeling. He is primarily an attacking midfielder but can play on either wing. He possesses an ominous counter attacking threat. Mario loves to short pass and dribble leading to numerous goal scoring chances for Dortmund. Bayern Munich triggered his 37 million Euros release clause and Mario is set to play for Munich’s finest next season onwards. One can only imagine what havoc Bayern will wreck on its opponents in Europe with their army of ‘Marios’.

André Schürrle

Andre is one of those special player who can play as a false no 9 and a winger. His immense work rate , long distance sprinting and fitness levels give him an advantage over the others on this list. His pace is incredible on counter attacks and he is also a decent finisher. However he has been termed ‘selfish’  thanks to his eagerness in taking a chance at goal when a team mate is open. This is understandable since he has wasted many shots on goal. Being the youngest of the lot Andre still has a long way to go. But his performances with Leverkusen have excited everyone and he is heavily linked with a move to West London giants Chelsea F.C this summer.

Marco Reus

Another dynamic product of the Dortmund youth system Reus plays both as a left attacker and in the middle behind the striker. After Mesut , Marco probably has the best ball control among the players mentioned here. His ability to control the ball with both feet in close spaces is amazing. After the departure of Götze and probably Robert Lewandowski as well , Marco Reus will have to take up the mantle of leading and creating Dortmund’s attack. He is more than capable of leading the Dortmund attack thanks to his versatility and technique which leave tongues wagging. He had a memorable 2012 with Dortmund and fans will especially remember how he individually dismantled Eintracht Frankfurt with his hat trick. With his national team career taking flight young Marco can only get better.

Toni Kroos

Certainly one of the best youth players to emerge from Bayern’s academy as of late. Kroos plays primarily as an attacking midfielder. Considered the future no 10 for the German giants, Toni made his debut for Bayern at the young age of 17 in the 07-08 season. Within 18 minutes of his appearance he provided 2 assists to Klose in the 5-0 mauling of Cottbus. He established himself as a regular starter in the Euro 2012 campaign for Germany. His strong right foot , ball distribution  and the way he receives the ball in play make him a potent weapon in Germany’s arsenal of attacking midfielders.

Thomas Müller

Another gem from the Bayern academy is Thomas Müller. He plays as a striker, midfielder, second striker and also as a winger! Definitely the most varied attacking option for any manager. He came to light in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa where he scored 5 goals in 6 appearances and earned the Golden Boot and was named as the Best Young Player. He made his breakthrough for Bayern under Louis Van Gaal and since then has been consistently scoring and assisting goals. Being an attacking all rounder he can play in a variety of positions and is usually deployed behind the central striker. He is a Raumdeuter which translates as “Interpreter of Space”. He doesn’t particularly possess good dribbling skills but then why dribble when you can create space? I haven’t even mentioned his best quality yet. He is “impervious to pressure” according to Joachim Loew. I don’t disagree. His composure and maturity are crucial in key matches for both Bayern and Germany.

These are the just the main players who came to my mind when thinking about the German attacking midfield revolution of late. As we saw this season 2 German clubs (Dortmund and Bayern Munich) annihilated every top European side in the Champions League and reached a memorable final at Wembley. Imagine being in the position of Joachim Loew and deciding which of these players to pick. A problem any manager would gladly love to have.

Written by,

Akshay Bharadwaj

Photo compilation,

Ameya Ghag

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