After spending the entire February so far sitting on the bench, contract rebel Toni Kroos was called back into the Bayern Munich starting line-up last night.
He figured in a strong side away to Hamburg in the German Cup, and played a key role in the champions' 5-0 demolition job.
He started in a central midfield role alongside Thiago Alcantara, and outshone the Spaniard, playing a crucial role in Bayern's victory.
With fresh legs from sitting out the previous two games, Kroos made a staggering 135 passes, at completion rate of 96 per cent.
His pinpoint passing included the creation of three goalscoring opportunities, of which two were ruthlessly converted.
His brace of assists takes his tally for the season to seven, while from a defensive point of view he was the best Bayern midfielder on the pitch, with four interceptions, and four successful tackles.
Kroos' future at Bayern Munich has been under scrutiny, with his demands for equal pay to new signing Mario Gotze leaving talks over extending his contract which expires in 2015 at a deadlock.
His agent was pictured talking to Manchester United manager David Moyes in January, and a summer transfer is very much a possibility.
Last night he showed Bayern they simply can't afford to freeze him out, he is too good and has too much to offer the team for that.
He staked a serious claim to feature in next week's Champions League match with Arsenal, and if a response was what Pep Guardiola had demanded, he certainly got one.
image: © Steindy