Chelsea’s Marko Marin: The Forgotten Wunderkind

Four years back Marko Marin of Borussia Monchengladbach was viewed by many as one of the promising young talents of Germany. Even before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, there were those who thought Marin would start as the wingman to Mesut Özil in the attacking midfield. Surprisingly Joachim Löw picked Thomas Müller for the right-wing spot ahead of Marin while the other flank was occupied by one of Löw’s favorite players, Lukas Podolski.

Thomas Müller made the most of his opportunity, scoring 5 goals in the tournament to win the Golden Boot as well as Young Player of the Tournament award. The German national team’s  third place finish was generally seen in a positive light, as Germany’s young team promised a lot of offer in the coming years.  Marin, who had transferred to Werder Bremen in July, 2009 for a 8.5 million euro transfer fee, only featured in two World Cup matches, coming off the bench in group games against Australia and Serbia, and failed to make an impact.

After the World Cup, the Yugoslavian-born Marin was given the central attacking role at Werder Bremen due to Özil’s transfer to Real Madrid. However the 5’7″ Marin failed to replicate his previous form in the central role and had couple of disappointing seasons with Bremen after his initial success there and soon found himself out of the Germany National Team. This summer Marin moved to Chelsea, winner of the 2011/2012 Champions League as well as the domestic FA Cup, and debuted in the club’s preseason friendly against the MLS All-Stars in July.  Marin’s official debut has been delayed due to a hamstring injury. However Marin impressed in the pre season friendlies with the Blues. Many may doubt Marin’s future but this writer is sure that Marin is here to stay for Chelsea.

A few facts about this little magician

  1. Marko Marin made his debut for Germany National Team before making his debut in Bundesliga. Marin was called up for the provisional Euro 2008 and made his debut against Belarus in 27th May 2008. The match ended in 2-2 draw; however Marin did not make it to the final squad for Euro 2008. He made his Bundesliga debut in the 2008-09 campaign with Borussia Mönchengladbach in August 2008.
  2. Marin did not have wait too long for his first international goal, he came on from the bench and scored to seal 2-0 victory over Belgium in an international friendly. His first goal came before Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos made debuts for Germany.
  3. Marin had third highest number of assists in Bundesliga 2008-09 (13 assists)  and 2009-10 (14 assists). Only Mesut Özil and Zviedan Misimovic had more assists than Marin in those two seasons.

Marin’s playing Style: He is not German Messi, he is more like Robben

In 2008, Marin’s impressive form helped him to be dubbed as the “German Messi”. While Marin’s movement, sprint acceleration and ball control are his strengths, it was too early and rather unfair to compare Marin to the Barca’s Argentine superstar. The main reason Marin could not continue his impressive form in the Bundesliga was due to Werder Bremen’s decision to play Marin as the central attacking midfielder, which is not his natural position. Marin is more comfortable and more productive as a winger who likes to sprint, dribble past defenders and create goal scoring chances, just like Arjen Robben.

If you closely monitor Marin’s performance over the years he has faired best playing on the flanks,  which meant that Werder’s longtime leader Thomas Schaaf’s decision to play him in a central role was a disaster both for the club and for Marin. In the pre season friendlies with Chelsea Marin did impress  Blues manager Roberto Di Matteo who may use Marin in the left flank. With Eden Hazard and Juan Mata in the team, Marin may just explode like he used with Mesut Özil during his days at Weserstadion.

Where does Marin fit in Chelsea Line up

Marin has a lot of competition in the attacking midfield of Chelsea. Eden Hazard has been outstanding in the anchor role while the other two places are up for grabs, with players the quality of Mata, Ramires, Oscar and perhaps even Malouda vying for playing time. With Chelsea playing in four tournaments this season, though, Marin should get the opportunity to win time on the pitch and make his mark for the Blues.Chelsea’s renewed ambition cannot be doubted with the owner spending another £64 million to bring in players like the Hazard Brothers, Oscar and Marin. Last year’s Champions League title involved more than a bit of luck,  but the taste of Champions League does seem to have provided further ambition to conquer England once again.

The hamstring injury has delayed Marin’s chance to immediately make an impact in English Football but Chelsea has not been that impressive. Even though they have nine points in three games, they were thrashed by Atletico Madrid in UEFA Super Cup and yet to face teams like Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal or Spurs this season. Therefore Di Matteo will experiment around the options he have in the team to find out the perfect combination in Chelsea attack.

Conclusion

 With his chance in Chelsea is likely to come this month, Marin must take it. His contemporaries in Germany National Team are now playing integral roles for Real Madrid (Mesut Özil), Bayern Munich (Toni Kroos, Thomas Müller)  or Dortmund (Marko Reus, Mario Götze), Marin has slipped badly from the position he once looked to secure for the German national team.   But the time is not over for this 23 years old wonder boy who has demonstrated in the past his ability to be a difference maker.  Considering the recent success of other  Bundesliga attacking talents in the EPL in recent seasons, let’s just wait a bit longer to see Magic Marin cast his spells on English Football.

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Tousif is a football writer based in Bangladesh and is a massive fan of Germany National Football Team.

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