Sunday 25 June 2017, 21:13

Werner stakes his claim as Klose's successor

  • Werner scores first senior goals for Germany

  • Goals arrive at decisive moments 

  • Germany's future striker? 

By Steffen Potter with Germany

For a long time it appeared as if Germany's match against Cameroon would follow a similar path to their opening fixture against Australia for Timo Werner: plenty of running but no goals.

It certainly started out that way. The lightning-fast Leipzig striker frequently darted into the channels but the Cameroon defence was able to match his pace and when he eventually did manage to fire off a shot, he either missed or was called offside. "He made an unbelievable number of runs but initially our attacks petered out a bit and we didn't create many clear chances," said Germany coach Joachim Low after the final whistle.

That would eventually change, especially as more space opened up following Ernest Mabouka's sending off. The 5'11" (1.80 metre) forward subsequently needed just two minutes to head Germany 2-0 up.

"In the second half we had more opportunities and created more situations in their penalty area," continued Low. "He showed how dangerous he is and that he's got a great nose for goal. Both of his efforts were very well taken. I'm really happy for him because he's worked incredibly hard and deserved both his goals."

It was the timing of Werner's strikes in particular that caught the eye. His first arrived shortly after Cameroon went down to ten men, and his second came just three minutes after Vincent Abouakar's effort reduced the deficit for Cameroon and threatened to knock Germany off their stride.

"I needed a little while to get going, and I didn't take the two earlier chances as I wanted to," said Werner. "My team-mates set me up superbly for both goals. Here we're learning about the processes that are normal at big tournaments like this."

Werner was the top German scorer in the Bundesliga last season with 21 goals. He developed impressively in his first campaign at Leipzig, progressing from the counter-attacking forward he had been at former club Stuttgart into a much more rounded player.

"Moving to Leipzig was definitely the right step," said Werner, the youngest player to score a brace in Bundesliga history. "The club and the team suit me, and I suit them. The physical side of things improves through the tactical side because in our system you constantly have to chase down the opposition. On top of that I've got a bit smarter."

His latest double is testament to that and serves as an indication that the 21-year-old could be the long-term answer to Germany's attacking conundrum. A new regular goalscorer has been sought to replace the retired Miroslav Klose, with 31-year-old Mario Gomez only considered a stop-gap due to his age. This match in Sochi might well have provided a glimpse into the future.