22 Striker Hoffenheim Germany
2014 has been...
It should be easy to make it as a striker right now in the German national team. There is a wealth of attacking midfielders and wide forwards; Mesut Özil, Mario Götze, Thomas Muller, Lukas Podolski and Julain Draxler are all on hand to create opportunities for the man tasked to lead the line and the only competition of note was the 36 year-old Miroslav Klose, who has subsequently retired after the summer’s World Cup.
There is literally a gaping hole ready to be filled.
That makes the decision of Joachim Löw to include Klose as the only out-and-out striker in his World Cup squad all the stranger. It ultimately worked. Germany walked away with the FIFA World Cup Trophy in their possession; and it’s not Löw’s fault that he only brought the Lazio frontman. No-one else forced their way into the reckoning; and by no-one we mean Kevin Volland.
With Stefan Kießling out of the reckoning for some time due to issues between him and the manager, Mario Gomez recovering from a long-term injury and some doubts about the one dimensional Pierre-Michel Lasogga, Volland appeared to be a shoe-in for the squad when he was included in the preliminary group for a friendly mere days before the competition started.
Of course, Kevin Volland isn’t a traditional striker in the sense that he only ever plays through the middle. Since joining Hoffenheim his decent return in the Bundesliga – 18 goals and 13 assists – has come from playing out wide in support of a striker, rotating in a traditional front two and as the leading man by himself.
In recent months, he played more and more as the point in the attack but he still has the ability to be used wherever needed. As an all-round forward, Thomas Muller is a much better option and as a poacher off the bench Miroslav Klose is a no-brainer pick. There wasn’t an obvious role for him to fill and he missed out.
The World Cup isn’t the only thing that has happened to Volland in the last 12 months, even if it has dominated the football world.
The 22 year-old is a very bright footballer and along with Roberto Firmino, Anthony Modeste and Sejad Salihovic, the quartet conspired to turn Hoffenheim into a fun team to watch. The whole team scored 72 goals in the Bundesliga last season on their way to a ninth place finish. Only Borussia Dortmund (80) and Bayern Munich (94), the top two, scored more. All of the aforementioned foursome scored more than 10 league goals each.
Had they been a little tighter at the back, it might have led to a higher finish or simply meant they didn’t score so many. We’ll always prefer exciting 4-3 wins over the routine 1-0 victories ground out by a tight team.
With pace to burn, a wicked left foot, a natural comfort at having the ball at his feet and a contract with a club not recognised as a power in German football, expect to see Kevin Volland featured in every transfer gossip column between now and the time of his eventual £12 million move to Tottenham Hotspur in July (that isn’t a prediction by the way).
Volland has scored and created goals consistently over the last three seasons for Hoffenheim. That puts him on the wish list of many clubs. He’s a relatively cheap option all things considered and has the adaptability to fit most systems, even though we’d suggest a team set-up to press high up the pitched and hit opposition sides on the break would be an ideal next move for him.
Kevin’s ability to create chances for his team-mates should not be ignored. His willingness to drop deep to collect the ball can frustrate defences preparing themselves to counteract his electrifying speed.
Hoffenheim should be able to demand a high price for his services when they come to sell; especially with Firmino drawing plenty of admirers too.
“Considering how well he has played for Hoffenheim over the last two years, it is maybe the biggest surprise in German football that he's not at a bigger club.” – Cristian Nyari
"Since August 2012 only six Germans have been involved in more Bundesliga goals than Kevin Volland (31; 18 goals and 13 assists)." - OptaJoe
C+ The next move will be interesting. Keep up the good work.
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