Why You'll Like Him
He’s super creative and he’s got sick dribbling skills.
Why You'll Hate Him
If you’re Turkish, you can’t be happy that he’s playing for the Krauts. Also, he goes down easily on occasion.
Mesut Özil is a guy with a pretty ridiculous skillset. He’s absolutely brilliant in his attacking midfield position and he’ll be key to Germany’s attack. He’s an incredible dribbler, his short passes are precise, and he’s got a knack for finding his teammates with killer through balls. He’s not a bad shooter either. He’s almost certainly the most creative player on a tactically rigid and workman-like German squad and his style of play provides them with a great contrast.
Position: Attacking central midfield
Club Teams: Schalke 04 (2006-2008), Werder Bremen (2008-present)
National Team Debut: February 11, 2009 vs. Norway (Friendly)
World Cup(s): None
Mesut Özil was born in Gelsenkirchen, Germany and started his professional club career in 2006 with local club FC Schalke 04. Özil showed his talents as a teenager, playing mostly in the center of midfield and occasionally on the left wing as a substitute and injury fill-in, but apparently didn’t impress die Königsblauen enough to convince them that they’d rather have him than some money. In 2008, he was sold to Werder Bremen for 4.3m Euros.
Özil played 12 games for Werder in the second half of the 2007-2008 season. In the 2008-2009 season, Özil played 28 league games for Werder, playing out of position on the left occasionally because of the presence of Diego. However, this past summer, Diego was sold to Juventus, and Özil was made the starting attacking central midfielder.
He was dominant in Bundesliga this season, scoring 9 goals, setting up countless others, and guiding Werder Bremen to 3rd place and Champions League qualification.
Özil’s role isn’t quite as defined now that Michael Ballack is out of the World Cup with an ankle injury. In the past, Germany has had not only Ballack, but Torsten Frings and Thomas Hitzlsperger to rely on in the middle of the pitch. All of those guys are gone, meaning Özil is almost certainly going to be required to track back a little more than he has in the past.
Germany have played a 4-3-3 with Özil as the most attacking of the midfielders, but there is speculation about whether or not they will make a change because of Ballack’s injury. It’s possible that Germany could play the same way, Özil could play the same role, and that Bastian Schweinsteiger or Toni Kroos will be asked to play slightly out of position to fit Ballack’s role. However, I tend to think that their manager is going to make some adjustments to the way the team plays to better accommodate his healthy players.
Right now, predicting what Özil’s role will be is a lot of speculation, but what we do know is that he’s the most creative player they have and he’ll look to set up the strikers.
What to Look For
Dribble dribble dribble Ronaldinho move dribble through-ball goal. That’s what to look for. That’s what you’re going to see a couple of times from Özil during this world cup. He looks like the ball is glued to his feet at times, it’s pretty incredible.
The other thing to look for is exactly what role he plays, although we should be able to figure that out through Germany’s friendlies. They’re likely to make some serious adjustments with Ballack out of the team, it’ll be interesting to see if Özil’s role changes at all.
The Germans are known for being smart, organized, efficient, and to some people, boring. That’s not Mesut Özil.
Kevin McCauley shares at least one of those adjectives with Özil. For proof, check out McCauley's sight, All Things Footy.