SINSHEIM, GERMANY - MAY 29: Mario Gomez of Germany celebrates after scoring his teams first goal during the international friendly charity match between Germany and Uruguay on May 29, 2011 in Sinsheim, Germany. (Photo by Thorsten Wagner/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Mario Gomez can not waste his opportunities in this championship for Germany to be successful.
Scoring 80 goals in all competitions over the last two seasons for a massive club like Bayern Munich is good enough to guarantee a player a start for his national side. Well, it's a guarantee unless your name is Mario Gomez.
No matter how good of form Gomez has been in for his club throughout his career, he's never been able to fully translate that over to the national side. It's easy to say Gomez just hasn't risen to the occasion when wearing the colors of Germany. Mario was part of the Germany team in Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010, but he failed to find the net in either competition. In fact, his ineptitude in front of goal in Austria/Switzerland was widely lampooned by the world media.
Stats are misleading in the case of Gomez. He has scored 22 times for his country in 52 appearances, and a closer look at those goals show that 8 of those goals came in qualifiers for Euro 2008 and Euro 2012. (Gomez didn't score in qualifiers leading up to World Cup 2010.) However, those goals came against world "powers" San Marino, Kazakhstan, Austria, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Belgium. The strongest competition he's scored against came in friendlies against Uruguay and Australia.
Joachim Löw abandoned the 4-4-2 for a 4-2-3-1 after the group stages of Euro 2008. Gomez's poor performance in front of the net accelerated this move. He was benched while Miroslav Klose retained his starting position. It's tough to argue Löw for favoring Klose over Gomez. Club form has never mattered in the case of Klose. Rudi Völler, Jürgen Klinsmann, and now Löw have stuck by him for one simple reason: He scores big goals in big games for Germany. He definitely hasn't failed to score in major tournaments. With 25 goals in qualifying and 16 goals in those tournaments, you can easily see why Klose is favored.
The general (and correct) consensus is that Gomez is a confidence-dependent striker. There is no doubt that when he gets going, he's absolutely tough to stop. As I said in the first sentence of this piece, Mario has scored 80 goals for Bayern over the last two seasons. If your name is not Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, that number is astronomical. One must also take into consideration to sheer volume of opportunities that Gomez gets to score in a Bayern shirt. Without exact figures in front of me, I will make the assumption that he sees roughly about one billion chances. It normally takes Gomez a couple of chances to get going, but when he does, he can score with the best.
As long as Klose remains healthy, Gomez will likely be starting the tournament from the bench. It will be important for him (and Germany) that he capitalize on the chances that he receives during his opportunities on the pitch. If he's wasteful like he was in 2008, you can be sure that Löw will try his other options. Gome and Klose are the only forwards that are being brought to Poland/Ukraine, but Löw has let it be known that he will be willing to put Marco Reus and/or Andre Schürrle up top to find goals. While Germany does have a potential weakness in defense, the forward position should not be an issue. The service will be there when Gomez sees the field. Thomas Müller, Mesut Özil, and Lukas Podolski are as talented an attacking trio that you'll find.
Germany has twenty one victories and one loss when Mario Gomez scores a goal. For Germany to reach their goal of winning the 2012 European Championship, Gomez is going to have score goals. They won't be able to rely on a 34 year old Miroslav Klose to carry them through another tournament.
National Team: Germany
Club: Bayern Munich
Role On Team: Second choice striker in Germany's 4-2-3-1