Should Kevin Volland be in the Germany squad?
Background Image: Александр Осипов, CC BY SA 2.0
‘Die Mannschaft’ or the German National Football Team if you prefer, have had more than a few issues over the last eighteen months. The biggest of which comfortably being their shocking exit from the World Cup at the group stage. More questions surrounding Joachim Low were (rightly) raised, whose decision not to include Leroy Sane within his travelling party made no sense whatsoever.
Low's making the headlines again for excluding another top attacker. This time, perhaps even more alarmingly, it's Kevin Volland's turn to be left out in the cold.
The Bayer Leverkusen forward has been in stellar form for quite some time now and has kicked off the season in the same brilliant fashion - scoring five and assisting a further two in ten appearances. Volland has put up such numbers even after not playing as a nine in most matches, usually being deployed as a winger but sometimes even being utilised as a wing-back in Peter Bosz's fluid system which so often can switch between a back three and a back four mid-game.
Volland, who is Leverkusen's vice-captain tends to lead from the front and assuming responsibility by scoring clutch goals when his team needs him the most. The 26-year-old's exemplary work-rate, putting in 100% every single time he takes to the field is his best attribute. Playing in a variety of positions only attests to this. If there's one word to describe the German attacker, it'd be intense. Throughout any given game Volland will cover every blade of grass. Be it to press, trackback or make threatening runs into the opposition box, he simply doesn't stop for 90 minutes.
Low has since moved on from the traditional number nine role and those glory days of Miroslav Klose banging in the goals are a thing of the past. The German gaffer now prefers a fluid, pacey front three who can interchange and shift positions depending on the situation. Timo Werner, Serge Gnabry and Marco Reus are now Die Mannschaft's go-to men, but without question, Volland's name should be up there too. No German has been involved in more goals than Volland in 2019, with the 26-year-old being directly involved in 45 Bundesliga strikes since the 2017/18 term.
Those numbers speak volumes.
It can't be a case of stylistic fit, either. Volland would perfectly suit Low's system, being able to slot in seamlessly anywhere across the front line. He's dynamic and hungry - exactly like the players in front of him in the pecking order. More than that, though, he's a consistent performer who can excel even without scoring goals or assisting them. What's most infuriating to me is that SC Freiburg youngster, Gini-Luca Waldschmidt, has earned his first senior call-up after scoring four goals to begin this term. Though Volland, who has put in better performances, is still remaining in exile.
We're talking about a player who has the instincts of the ideal striker - making near-perfect runs to either post, while also possessing the traits to be that 'fox in the box' when you need him to be. Volland's impressive assist totals prove that he's also equally brilliant at carving out chances for his teammates, too - averaging more than one key pass per game in the Bundesliga since 2015. The ex-Hoffenheim forward is also able to operate with his back to goal and allowing teammates to run in-behind him, which is an underrated aspect of his game.
It's Volland's versatility, selflessness and adaptability which make him a must-have squad member. He's also someone who doesn't hide in the so-called 'big games'. What's not to like?
Volland has only scored once for his country since 2014. He's never been to a major international tournament and hasn't been called up for Germany since November 2016. His story with the national team simply hasn't been kind - and the player himself knows it:
I'd love to be back in the national team, but I'm a realist. I know that I have to perform here first and foremost and play consistently, if I'm to play for Germany again.
Volland when asked about a call up to the German National Team in 2017
Volland has done more than enough to justify a call-up, even expressing his frustrations towards the end of the last season.
"I'm a realist in regard to this question. I haven't been there since November 2016, last season, I had a good run and a constant year, scoring 14 goals. And the same has happened this year. At some point, you stop thinking too much about whether you get called up or not."
- Volland asked about the same in May 2019
The ball is once again in the manager's court, who right now, needs Volland's help...
Image Via: Understat.