When the World Cup began, many Chelsea fans were hoping that a Blue would become one of the tournament’s heroes. Some were confident that it would be Oscar that shined; others thought it would be Eden Hazard. A few over- optimistic England fans even considered it might be Gary Cahill. But very few would have put their money on Andre Schurrle.
Schurrle has yet to make Germany’s starting line-up. He’s come off the bench in every game so far, sometimes to quite devastating effect. In the opening game against Portugal, his stinging shot could only be parried to Thomas Muller, who put away the rebound for Germany’s fourth goal. He opened the scoring in the quarter-finals against Algeria with an improvised flick of the foot from Muller’s cross. And he hit two in the second-half in Germany’s demolition job on Brazil, the second a thumping shot past Julio Cesar which may well have been the best goal of the seven.
With three goals, Schurrle is Chelsea’s top scorer in Brazil. And he’s the only chance the club has of having another World Cup winner this year. He has played superbly, using his pace and power to overcome tiring defences, and has shown that he possesses a wicked shot and quite an eye for goal. He’s fitted in well, too, with the German pattern of fast, direct passing, switching the play from side to side at pace. It’s been a glimpse of what he may really be able to achieve back at Chelsea.
Schurrle has found his opportunities limited at Stamford Bridge so far, much as he has done with the German team. But one of his best attributes is that he never moans or complains about not being a fixture in the first team, he gets on with showing what he can do in the limited time available to him.
He has shown his talents on occasion for the Blues – the hat-trick he scored against Fulham in 17 second-half minutes, for example, was truly devastating. Mourinho responded to that feat by claiming that Schurrle was “cold-blooded” in front of goal and added: “He’s the kind of guy who finishes. He can chip, he can score with the right foot and the left foot and this is what I expect from him.”
It’s to be hoped that Chelsea begins to use more of Schurrle next season, on the back of his World Cup exploits. He has shown he has the ability to tear defences apart if he’s allowed to run at them. He can be a devastating impact substitute. But it would also be interesting to see if he can have the same effect when he starts. If he can, he may well be pushing the likes of Hazard and Oscar for a starting place.