Bad boy Kruse axed by Jogi after Bild campaign keeps roaring onwards

Max Kruse has had a tough season so far at Wolfsburg. 6 goals and 6 assists in 25 league matches is not what Coach Dieter Hecking and Sporting Director Klaus Allofs would have hoped for when they took out the cheque book to pay 12 million Euros for the national team player. When Wolfsburg signed the 28-year-old attacker Kruse’s career had been on a steady rise which saw him make the way from being a Bundesliga 2 goalgetter with FC St. Pauli all the way to the national team.

Besides Kruse’s trouble on the pitch (which has extended to the entire team and not just him if we are being honest) there have been several unpleasant reports about him in the media over the last few weeks. At first Bild had managed to get their hand on a private group conversation in which the former Freiburg and Gladbach player had bragged that he did have sex with a reality TV contestant. Kruse kept his mouth shut, simply stating that certain things were private and tried to move on.

A little bit later on the same paper had managed to find out that Hecking wasn’t amused by the fact that Kruse decided to eat Nutella for breakfast during the club’s training camp. Again, not really a revelation that could explain Wolfsburg’s poor form this season, but enough to disturb the peace and quiet in the Volkswagen city.

Then finally the paper finally got their hand on a big story when they found out that the striker had filed a police report because he had lost 75,000€ in cash in a taxi after a night of playing poker into the early hours of the next morning. Said night happened in October after Kruse had netted 3 goals against Hoffenheim earlier that day.

After the story went public. Hecking and Allofs told Kruse in no uncertain terms that he should prioritise his job more and that they’d expect a change in attitude from the striker. Only a day after Kruse was fined 25,000€ Bild once again could reveal that they had spotted Kruse out where he shouldn’t have been.

On Saturday evening Kruse spent a night out at the Berlin club Avenue to celebrate his 28th birthday. When a woman appeared on the dance floor at 2 in the morning to take pictures of Kruse enjoying his 28th birthday party the striker supposedly made clear – in no uncertain terms – that he would like to see her phone to delete the pictures she had taken. Little did he know that the woman he was talking to was a Bild reporter. Coincidence? Yeah, right…

A second 25,000€ fine from Wolfsburg and national team coach Jogi Löw axing the 28-year-old from his squad are the outcome of Kruse’s latest joyride in Berlin’s nightlife, Allofs told the press that Kruse should have celebrated his birthday “without making headlines”. The sporting director went on to condemn his striker for deleting the reporter’s photos.

Löw folding under the pressure

The fact that Kruse wasn’t included in the 2014 World Cup squad was supposedly caused by the fact that the striker had disciplinary problems at times when he spent time with the national team according to several newspaper reports. Kruse’s current streak of bad press has caused Löw to remove the striker from his squad for the upcoming friendlies.

The national team coach and Oliver Bierhoff have always wanted their team to have a perfect image in the public’s view, and guys like Kruse don’t necessarily fit into that vision. Now that he once again has managed to get in the spotlight, even after he was punished and had talked to Löw, his behavior left the national team coach no choice whatsoever. If the Clearasil clean image has to be kept up, it has to be without Kruse. Whether Kruse ever returns to the national team, or if he’ll be stuck at 14 appearances for Die Nationalmannschaft, remains to be seen.

Going out to a club might not have been the wisest thing to do due to the current sporting situation, and playing poker deep into the night might give rise to concerns whether or not Kruse’s focus is where it should be. And that in itself should be the reason given for why Kruse shouldn’t have been included in the squad in the first place. Headlines about Nutella and about a one night stand that happened several years ago, though, can’t render an explanation for why both Kruse and Wolfsburg are struggling at the moment.

Kruse’s future at Wolfsburg under threat

The fact that Klaus Allofs finds it unacceptable that Kruse deleted the pictures from the reporters phone are surprising when it comes to explaining why Kruse has been fined. Germany has a very specific legal code when it comes to photography. Within the legal code one can even find a section stating that the person on the photograph has the right to decide what is going to happen to said photograph. Being unnerved by a complete stranger taking loads of pictures while one is out to enjoy oneself is more than understandable, demanding in crystal clear terms that all photos should be deleted shouldn’t be something unreasonable. Even if that stranger works for Bild…

Allofs doesn’t mention that Kruse shouldn’t have been out that late that night. The club had actually been informed by Kruse about his plans. If the sporting director finds it acceptable that his players are out to celebrate their birthday with their friends after a match, why being bothered by the campaign Bild are currently launching against Kruse? The paper has already written that Wolfsburg should fire Kruse for his behaviour off the pitch. Why not defend the player in the media and stick up for his right to have a bit of privacy? If he doesn’t find it acceptable that Kruse is out partying late at night, one could have at least stuck up for the player and stated that he was well within his rights to delete those pictures.

However, one thing seems to be clear. Both Hecking and Allofs want their players to show the right attitude on and off the pitch. If Kruse wants to play football on a regular basis he has to start doing both straight away. During contract negotiations the striker had promised his new club that he’d better his ways and Wolfsburg’s officials don’t seem to think that he has done it so far.

And if that wasn’t enough, on Monday night it was made public that a video had surfaced online showing Kruse naked. The club discussed what to do about it on Monday evening and is expected to release a statement on Tuesday.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 32-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball.