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The new guy: Who is Max Kruse?

The only out-and-out striker in the Germany squad has enjoyed a rapid rise in recent years.

Max Kruse in action for Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Max Kruse in action for Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Image: Martin Meissner/AP/Press Association Images

MAX KRUSE IS a sub-editor’s dream. ‘Kruse control’ for when he dominates a game. ‘Kruse missile’ when he bangs in a 40 yard pile-driver. But clichéd headlines aside, there’s a lot to like about the 25-year old who has, in just over a year, gone from second division football in Germany to second top goalscorer after the first eight weeks of the 2013-14 Bundesliga season.

He is, of course, the only recognised striker in the Germany squad to face Ireland tomorrow night as Joachim Löw continues to exclude the Bundesliga’s top striker, Stefan Kiessling, prompting the Leverkusen striker to declare recently that he wouldn’t play for his country again until Low was no longer in charge.

While Kiessling’s absence won’t worry Kruse, his rise to the top in recent years has been extraordinary.

After playing youth football with his home town club, he moved to Hamburg side SC Vier- und Marschlande where he spent seven years. In 2005 he was picked up by Werder Bremen but couldn’t make the breakthrough in his four years with the side, making just one substitutes appearance in an 8-1 win over Arminia Bielefeld in 2007.

Despite limited opportunities, he signed with St Pauli in the German second division in 2009. His best season came in 2011-12 when he scored 13 goals as every hipster’s former-favourite club just missed out on promotion. Kruse himself would be heading for Germany’s top flight as he signed a contract with Freiburg just days after the season ended.

At Freiburg, Kruse was moved from the attacking midfield position he’d played most of his career and generally played either behind the frontman or as part of a two-pronged attack. The move paid dividends almost immediately as he scored on both his competitive debut against Victoria Hamburg and his home league debut against Mainz.


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While his 11 goals in the 2012-13 season helped secure Freiburg a Europa League spot this season, two of them in particular were to benefit the 25-year old as his brace against Borussia Mönchengladbach impressed the club so much that they signed him for just €2.5 million this summer.

That has since proven to be a very good piece of business by Mönchengladbach as Kruse has already found the back of the net five times in just eight games for the club. That form resulted in a call from Low and he made his debut for Germany in May of this year, setting up Lukas Podloski for a goal in a 4-2 win over Ecuador.  He went one better just a few days later when he scored Germany’s second in a 4-3 defeat to the USA.

Kruse is undoubtedly in the form of his life so don’t be surprised if you see him finding the net against Ireland on Friday night. Then watch the headlines write themselves.

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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