For German football fans, Mario Gomez is the personification of the term 'Goal Machine'. The 1.89m frontman scored almost at will with first club Stuttgart, and even though he endured a difficult first few months at Germany's most successful club Bayern Munich, it was only a matter of time before he proved his impressive goalscoring credentials once again.
However, things have not gone quite so well at international level for the towering striker, who celebrates his 25th birthday the day before the Final of 2010 FIFA World Cup™. All the more reason for the Bayern Munich hitman to put things right in South Africa.
Gomez first appeared for Germany at U-15 level, though his real breakthrough came in the 2006/07 season as he fired Stuttgart to title glory, claiming the German Footballer of the Year award in the process. The powerful attacker notched an incredible 63 goals in three years with the Swabians before Bayern paid a Bundesliga record €30m to lure him to Bavaria. Agile, quick and as good in the air as he is on the ground, not to mention young and hungry, everything was pointing towards a rosy future for the German star.
But then came UEFA EURO 2008. Beforehand, many experts were expecting Gomez to take the tournament by storm with the world watching. Suddenly all eyes were on him, and suddenly the goals dried up. Gomez did of course go on to pick up a runners-up medal in Austria and Switzerland, but his performances left a lot to be desired.
Nonetheless, the son of a Spanish mother and German father worked hard to recapture his old form and won the hearts of the German fans with some battling performances during qualifying for South Africa 2010, whilst also ousting the likes of Miroslav Klose and Luca Toni in the Bayern attack, despite initial criticism from Bayern coach Louis van Gaal. Now the powerful goalgetter is hoping that Germany coach Joachim Low will reward his efforts with a starting berth at football’s greatest show.