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Ozil playing as a False 9: Could Germany be a model for Arsenal?

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Ozil and Schurrle drifted in and out of the front role in Germany's latest international fixture. Could it be model for Arsenal or Chelsea?

Any port in a storm. An old saying that hardly fits the bill, one might think, when it comes to Germany’s trashing 3-0 victory over Ireland last Friday.

But German international manager Jogi Low was almost out of options regarding the striker position. 35-year-old, record-breaking striker Miroslav Klose just started training after an foot surgery and Mario Gomez from Italy’s Fiorentina, Low’s second option, is still sidelined with a knee injury.

Joachim Low, who will most likely extend his contract any time soon, could have called Leverkusen’s Stefan Kießling, Bundesliga’s top scorer last season. Or he could have gave young gun Max Kruse, striker from Borussia Mönchengladbach, for a change. Or he could have played with Munich’s Thomas Muller like Pep Guardiola did it in their defeat over Manchester City FC.

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But Low didn’t do any of that. He had something else planed. Something which looked like a any port in a storm choice. He played with Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil as a striker.

It looked kind of odd to see Ozil on this position. The five feet 11 inches and 167 pounds 24-year-old has not really the ideal physical ability other true strikers have. And Ozil doesn’t play like one either.

He still played great, scoring one goal but it wasn’t his natural position. So Ozil played more a false 9 then as a true striker shifting with Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos and Chelsea’s Andre Schurrle.

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The German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung valued Low’s experiment as a decent try. However Ozil is at his best if he contributes to the passing game but not from the front line, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung added.

Suddeutsche Zeitung, a national newspaper from Bavaria, was a little harsher with their comment: “Mesut Ozil fluctuated against Ireland diligently between attackers and midfielders, like a true False 9, but confused not only the Irish, but apparently also himself.”

Low said about this change in his famous unemotionally style: “It is always a variant.”

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I don’t know where this reservations came from, but I thought it was a brilliant move. Moving Ozil to a false 9 position made room for Toni Kroos who might sit on the bench if everyone is healthy.

Kroos sparked in a match where Ireland’s only target was defending. Or like German football magazine kicker put it: Kroos put Schurrle into motion nicely and then Schurrle destroyed the Irish with his quick dibbling..

Another subject which everybody seems to forget is that opposing teams have to prepare for this other option Germany is able to play. This quick changing variability brings another dimension and makes Germany so much tougher to defend.

Could this be a model for Arsene Wenger? 

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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