Predictable Surprise? Kevin Volland Cut from Löw’s Final Roster

Disclaimer/Spoiler Alert: If you do not watch HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ or are not yet current on the events of season four, this post will either make absolutely no sense to you, or it could potentially ruin some surprises should you decide to eventually catch up with it.

Consider yourself warned!

Between the final few waking hours of my Sunday night and the early-morning Twitter scan of Bundesliga news, I had two major lines of hope stomped into oblivion.

First on Sunday night, it was Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin dealing the disappointment by ending dreams of Oberyn Martell (aka ‘the Red Viper’) filling the heroism-void in King’s Landing, which had the potential to finally apply some relief to the overwhelming run of evil triumphing over good in the series.

Then on Monday morning, it was Jogi Löw ending dreams of Kevin Volland filling the striker-void in the DFB squad and finally giving something positive to counter the never-ending run of injury news, lackluster results, and a general resignation to the idea that this edition of die Nationalmannschaft will not end the title drought for Germany.

So, in a way, all you Germany fans yearning for more young strikers are Peter Dinklage. Not too shabby!

As someone who desperately wants something to root for from both entities, I’m having a bit of a rough time with all of it, even if I saw it coming.

When Volland (aka, if only in my head, ‘the Blue Viper’) was listed as the only striker in Löw’s provisional squad not named Miroslav Klose, we maybe should have known it was a set-up. The abject dearth of high-quality German strikers has been among the hottest of topics surrounding the squad in the run-up to Brazil. The long-time tandem of Klose and Mario Gomez seemed to be doomed when Gomez had his sword hand cut-off by a captor.

Wait, no. That’s not right. Sorry about that.

It was multiple leg injuries that severely limited Gomez to fewer than 900 minutes on the pitch with Fiorentina this season between Serie A and Europa League competition. In truth, however, questions about whether even a healthy Gomez was the right player had been swirling for a while, with the problem being that as soon as you said, “no” to that, it was very difficult to supply the correct answer to “Well, then who?”

Did Tyrion ever imagine that Martell would come to his aid? Absolutely not.

The Blue Viper’s appearance to the scene was much less a surprise than was that of the Red Viper, despite his playing up front only rarely for 1899 Hoffenheim this season. Volland has shown himself to be a quality scoring and playmaking threat, while possessing the frame needed to assert himself physically before the goal as required of any striker hoping to actually be dangerous up front.

For a long moment, maybe some of us lost sight of all we knew about Löw and his roster.

Löw has a well-earned reputation for sticking with “his guys.” Not all fans of the German national team would necessarily rate this among his best qualities. Among those fans are probably the folks who knew immediately Volland’s Brazil candidacy was doomed, just as those who’ve learned how George R.R. Martin writes his stories had to realize, at some point before it happened, that the Red Viper was not going to be on that cross-continental flight.

Now, it should probably be said that Volland’s nomination is, overall, a positive for the futures of both the player and the DFB. The fact is that Volland does offer a lot of promise, but he is just 21-years-old. The Blue Viper did not have his head squashed into tiny bits by a man-mountain. Rather, he’s just been taken out of the script for a little while, potentially setting up something much bigger down the road.

Chin up, Germany! Things are much brighter than they may currently seem, both short- and long-term!

And while some were left shaking their heads Monday at the idea that Löw will land in Brazil with just a 36-year-old as his lone striker (and it’s not as if Klose is just some elderly dude, either), the fact is that Thomas Müller, Marco Reus, Mario Götze, and even Andre Schürrle can all supply plenty offensive threat.

We all know and recognize this. Yet . . . the Vipers, both of them, were simply so interesting that I wasn’t ready to let them go just yet.

The long-term payoff will likely be worth the current let-down.

In the interim, however, please make sure I don’t feel like I paid with great disappointment for nothing. That throne . . . er . . . cup would do nicely.


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Randall Hauk is a freelance writer living in the United States while covering German football. He is currently the publisher of Planet Effzeh, an English-language site covering 1. FC Köln. He wrote about the German national team for the Telegraph as part of their World Cup Nation coverage.

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