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Out of the darkness and into the light

“When I saw that one of the first miners brought to the surface was called Mario Gomez, I knew that it was going to be my match.”  (Mario Gomez)

What have Bayern Munich and the freed Chilean miners got in common? The answer is that both have someone called Mario Gomez within their number.  This would on the face of it be a small coincidence which is not the slightest bit  interesting.  However, there are also 33 freed Chilean miners, which is the same number on the back of the Bayern striker’s shirt.

Still not convinced?

Then what about the 3 goals Gomez scored against Hannover on Saturday, ending his goalless streak in the league this season, the same week the miners were freed?

“These goals are a sign of destiny. 33 miners were saved, I wear shirt number 33 and I scored three goals,” said the delighted Gomez. Who am I to disagree with him? After all, since his 30 million Euro move to Bayern last season, Gomez’s goalscoring  and performances have taken a serious dip since his exploits during his Stuttgart days. The Bayern fans could’ve been mistaken for believing Gomez had been buried under ground.

At Stuttgart, Gomez was one of the most feared strikers in German football. He was elected German Footballer of the Year in 2006-07 having had a major contribution to Stuttgart’s title winning campaign. He then went from strength to strength scoring 28 in 32 games in 07-08, then 35 in 44 games in 08-09. Bayern were suitably impressed by the golden boy of German football. He was 24, had scored goals for fun in the Bundesliga and was seen as an ideal signing. Unfortunately for Bayern, the most expensive Bundesliga signing turned out to be a bit of a disappointment.

He scored only 14 league goals in 45 appearances last season. This was not an absolutely terrible return, but following the high standards set during his time at Stuttgart and the big transfer fee, more was expected. Maybe it was the pressure of the massive transfer fee? Maybe it was playing for a bigger club with more demanding fans? Maybe it was the weight of expectation, dragging him down into the darkness. Whatever the reason, Gomez had clearly lost the goal scoring touch.

The start to the season had given no indication that Gomez would rekindle his goal scoring fire. He only started 2 games for Bayern with Van Gaal preferring Klose and/or Olic up front. With those two out injured though, Gomez finally had the chance to kick start a barren league campaign. He did so with aplomb.

His first was an instinctive diving header from an Altintop cross, timing his run across the defender superbly. Toni Kroos then put him through in the 77th minute, and after twisting and turning the defender inside out, he drove home with his left. Having been booked for his troubles after removing his shirt, Gomez finished his hat trick with a cushioned header from a great cross from Thomas Muller.  This performance followed a goal for the national team during the week against Kazakhstan, his first in a competitive international game for Germany since June 2007.

Both Gomez and Bayern will hope that the goal scoring floodgates will now open, and that he will start justifying his massive transfer fee. Bayern certainly need him. After winning the league last year and getting to the final of the champions league, the start to this season has been a little underwhelming. They sit in 10th place after 8 games, with only 11 points.

Bayern’s indifferent start to the season has meant that they already have a lot of catching up to do with the two runaway leaders at the top; Dortmund and Mainz who are both already 10 points clear of the defending champions. Van Gaal’s injury list continues to grow with Van Bommel, Van Buyten, Robben and Ribery still missing. Schweinsteiger started on the bench on the weekend and has only just got back from injury. Van Gaal also decided to cancel the players annual visit to the Oktoberfest celebration in Munich in order to concentrate on more training.

With arguably their two best players out injured, Bayern will need to hope that their squad players will step up to the plate. If Gomez can start terrorising  defences like he did during his time at Stuttgart, then it is not all doom and gloom. There may be some light at the end of the tunnel.

“I am very happy that Mario Gomez scored three goals because it’s very important for his confidence. And that is very important for Bayern.”     (Louis Van Gaal)

Gomez hat trick vs Hannover


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