Ever heard of ‘Rot-Weiss Essen’? Nope, me neither. The German 4th division side are a club in decline, but they still have one thing safe in their knowledge; they nurtured Mesut Ozil, arguably Germany’s most creative and influential squad member. The Turkish-born midfielder chose to represent Germany at U-17 level, a decision he has never looked back upon.
Ozil’s form has, deservedly, attracted a huge amount of interest from Europe’s greatest sides, including Arsenal, Manchester United, and Barcelona – but it is the Spaniards who the youngster admires the most. He told footballfanhouse.co.uk, ‘I admire Barca’s style of play. It is wonderful football to watch, and perhaps one day I will get the chance to play there.’ You could say that Ozil is quite arrogant by expecting to play alongside the greatest, but in truth he is being severely modest – he could quite easily slip alongside Messi and Villa in the future.
Coming into the World Cup, Ozil has impressed in this year’s Bundesliga for his current club side Werder Bremen. With seven goals to his name, the midfield dynamo made some vital contributions in helping Bremen to achieve 3rd place; and vital Champions League qualification. However, Ozil has been linked with a summer move away from Germany after a blossoming start to his international career.
A contender for ‘Player of the Tournament’, Ozil has dazzled pundits and fans alike with his performances ever since Germany’s victorious Euro U-21 campaign. The skillful midfielder scored a delightful chip against England in the final, and has since moved on to the senior side with aplomb.
Mesut Ozil made his full debut in a friendly against Norway in ’09, before scoring his first goal just six months later against South Africa. Suddenly, people started to take notice of his performances. This reputation was fully enhanced in Germany’s first World Cup game in South Africa against Australia, where Ozil ran the Socceroo’s ragged. Ozil created two assists, had one cleared off the line, and picked up the Man of the Match award – the world had taken notice of the new midfield revelation. The youngster then had a disappointing game against Serbia, before showing once more why he is wanted so badly by Europe’s top sides. Ozil picked up a loose ball 25 yards out against Ghana, before rifling home into the top corner – not a bad introduction to the World Cup!
Ozil was also instrumental in Germany’s 4-1 success over a beleagered England in the last sixteen. The English defence gave him time and space, something he utilised to set up two German goals. Next up for Germany are Argentina, and Ozil must be at his best once again to counter the attacking threat of the likes of Messi, Tevez, and Higuain.
However, Ozil does often stray offside. This was seen frequently against Ghana and Serbia, and with Argentina keen believers of the offside trap, Ozil must be wary; failure to do this may see him drift out of the game.
After a much-underrated start to his international career, Ozil has improved in leaps and bounds, to the extent where he is now renowned as one of the world’s best midfielders. Germany will need him to be at his best to see off Argentina, and if they do this, who knows? Will Germany, and Ozil, lift the most prestigious trophy in football come July 11th? Only time will tell…