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No Özil, no problem for Germany

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For the first time in a long time, Mesut Özil sat on the bench in a competitive championship match despite being 100 percent fit. Did Germany miss him?

Germany v Sweden: Group F - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, Mesut Özil has started every championship match for Germany since the 2010 FIFA World Cup. That ended with Saturday’s match against Sweden, which turned out to be a nail-biting win that Germany finished, 2-1, thanks to a Toni Kroos free kick.

A common thought would be that Germany got the win and that’s all that matters in the end.

Well wait a second, Germany poses a 20-2-5 record when Özil appears for Die Mannschaft in a championship match. Since that World Cup in South Africa, the 29-year-old midfield maestro has scored four goals, assisting on eight more in a German shirt.

Germany v Mexico: Group F - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Perhaps Özil would’ve stayed onside and scored the half-volley that Mario Gomez beamed against the crossbar in the 69th minute or the header Gomez tested Robin Olsen with in the 89th minute. Or perhaps Özil would’ve connected for a goal with one of Joshua Kimmich’s low crosses that came throughout the entire match.

The world will never know.

Regardless of which side you stand on in this matter, sitting on the bench for Germany’s second match didn’t seem to bother Özil to the extent (at least we think so) that it did Germany fans as their blood pressure skyrocketed for 90 minutes.

Germany manager Joachim Löw spoke about the matter on ARD ahead of Saturday’s match (Sport Bild).

First of all, for the tournament, that means that you see that you can’t play every game with the same team. Today was precisely the day on which I said I’ll make this decision, that he’ll be out [of the lineup] for the first time — and this or that other player will start.

The famous nose-picker wasn’t ousting the Arsenal midfielder, per say. In fact, with a bit of optimism, one could interpret the following statement from Löw as a ‘saving the best for last’ situation.

We will definitely need Mesut Özil, with his creativity, in this tournament. Mesut is needed by us!

Özil is one of Germany’s best players, providing technical skills few in the world can match. His play-making ability, setting up teammates to score goals and scoring some himself, will be needed for Germany to replicate what they did in Brazil four years ago.

Mario Götze clinched the title for the frankfurter faithful then, but he’s not in Russia to do so once more. Who will it be this year, assuming Germany survive the group stage of course?

There is still work to be done, Germany.


Poll time

Poll

Does Germany need Mesut Özil in the staring IX to repeat as World Cup champions?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Yes, Germany needs to start Özil to move on in Russia.
    (293 votes)
  • 16%
    No, the match against Sweden is a prime example.
    (145 votes)
  • 49%
    Mesut Özil does not have to start but Germany will need him to do his part.
    (425 votes)
863 votes total Vote Now