The German FA confirmed this morning that Marco Reus will not be available for the World Cup this summer due to partial ligament damage suffered yesterday in Germany’s friendly against Armenia. The initial blow was hard to take, and with Reus primed for a key role in the Germany XI, there have been some USA fans that have gone as far as to say that the man responsible for his injury is a savior. But what if the injury to the Dortmund attacking midfielder is not as damaging as some may think?
Despite his heavy influence and supreme attacking talents, if it’s one thing Germany is by no means short of, it’s attacking players. Coach Joachim Low, having taken 12 midfielders to Brazil, will have made the right decision as now it seems that the depth he has afforded himself with will come into play.
Available attacking players in the German squad
While it remains unfortunate that the world must wait another four years to see Reus put on dazzling displays on the sports biggest stage for the first time (yes, this was to be his first World Cup), his absence paves the way for others to shine.
Regardless of the mixed-bag of a season he had at Arsenal, Mesut Ozil was always going to be vital this summer for Germany, while Lukas Podolski has been deemed irreplaceable to the national team by Low. Thomas Muller was last World Cup’s golden boot winner, and while his importance to Bayern Munich may be in question, his influence for Die Mannschaft has never been in question. The three players to benefit most from Reus’ untimely injury are Mario Gotze, Andre Schurrle and Julian Draxler.
Gotze, like many of his Bayern team-mates, initially found it difficult to adjust to Pep Guardiola’s adaptation of “tiki-taka” to the playing landscape in the Bundesliga. His role at the club was also largely undefined, but he has always done quite well in a Germany shirt. Four of his nine international goals came in World Cup qualfying, and his brace last night against Armenia certainly did not hurt his chances of featuring prominently this summer.
After a period of adjustment from his switch to Chelsea from Bayer Leverkusen, the second-half of Schurrle’s season in England began to show Blues supporters why the club brought him in. While he only netted 9 times in a combined 43 appearances, most of those goals came after January. He too had four goals in qualifying (though one was a hat-trick against Sweden), but he has scored in both pre-World Cup friendlies that Germany has taken part in and he is coming into Brazil on very strong form.
Draxler is the youngest attacking player Germany have taken to Brazil, but even though he is still only 20, his performances for Schalke in both the Bundesliga and Champions League have been sensational. It can certainly be argued that he is one of the most complete attacking players in the squad, and certainly one of the most versatile. Do not let his single goal for his country fool you – he does have an eye for goal, but it is his playmaking abilities in the final third and his ability on the ball that make him a serious threat to anyone. Most of his appearances for his country have been as a substitute however, making him a long shot to be Reus’ replacement.
While it is unfortunate that the we will be neglected the opportunity to see Reus take on the world, there is always a silver lining in every negative happenstance. Germany’s depth, as we have highlighted previously, now comes into play. If there is any team that can make you forget about such a high profile casualty, it’s Die Adler.