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Germany relying on Wirtz to cap stellar season at Euros

Despite early praise in his fledgling career, the 21-year-old had not enjoyed a true breakout season until this term when he led Bayer Leverkusen's march to a first Bundesliga title.
Last Updated : 03 June 2024, 04:13 IST
Last Updated : 03 June 2024, 04:13 IST

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Berlin: Freshly-crowned Bundesliga champion Florian Wirtz has long been considered among the most talented players of his generation and the striker will be expected to help restore Germany to former glories at their home European Championship.

Despite early praise in his fledgling career, the 21-year-old had not enjoyed a true breakout season until this term when he led Bayer Leverkusen's march to a first Bundesliga title.

Wirtz also helped the club to reach the Europa League final, where they lost 3-0 to Atalanta, and book their place in the German Cup final in which they beat Kaisterlautern.

He was supposed to be his country's big new name at the 2022 World Cup but a cruciate ligament tear in March that year saw him miss the tournament, with Germany crashing out in the first round.

He bounced back from that injury and Wirtz is now ready to carry that record-breaking momentum into the national team, with top European clubs eager to sign him.

The home fans know Germany are desperate for success, having failed to make a major tournament final since winning the 2014 World Cup.

With their international reputation seriously dented in the past decade, Wirtz will be tasked to help restore it.

An attacking midfielder who is as effective at scoring as he is in setting up goals, Wirtz's skills and bubbling enthusiasm are captivating and infectious.

He orchestrates play and is constantly attack-minded, exactly what Germany need at the moment.

"He is right up there," Leverkusen team mate Granit Xhaka said recently. "He delivers at his age every third day. He is a danger with the ball and off the ball. He runs a lot, in such a clever way even without the ball."

Wirtz has scored 11 goals in the league while setting up another 11, with Leverkusen becoming the first Bundesliga team to win the title without losing.

Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann recently named him as one of his 'three magicians' in midfield, along with Jamal Musiala and Ilkay Gundogan, making him an automatic starter.

The selection of that trio offers a glimpse for their Group A opponents -- Scotland, Hungary and Switzerland -- of what to expect from Germany.

Amid speculation regarding the club future of the attacking midfielder, a successful Euros will not only turn Wirtz into Europe's most attractive transfer prospect but confirm him as the player who can lead Germany back to the very top.

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Published 03 June 2024, 04:13 IST

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