Everything’s coming up Lars Stindl! Another game, another goal for the irrepressible forward who emerged as one of the players of the tournament at the FIFA Confederations Cup, scoring the winner in the final against Chile, following his outstanding exploits for Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2016/17.
The man currently sporting the widest smile in world football has been making a monumental effort to remain modest in front of the microphones, but after finishing as joint leading scorer at the FIFA World Cup warm-up (with three goals, alongside team-mates Timo Werner and Leon Goretzka), Stindl would be forgiven a self-fist-bump into the mirror prior to leaving his room these days.
Earning his first cap for Germany at the start of June, the 28-year-old attacker scored the winner in the final and found the net in successive group games for Die Mannschaft at the Confederations Cup, earning Germany a 1-1 draw against Chile in Kazan after netting his first senior goal for Joachim Löw’s team in a 3-2, opening Group B victory against Australia.
And all of this after signing a contract extension with Gladbach, where he finished the 2016/17 campaign as the Foals’ top goalscorer!
"It’s true, I can’t complain at the moment," the man of the hour said through that trademark grin. "Of course I’m happy I have been able to help out the squad with these goals," he added. "The first against Australia was something really special while playing and scoring [against Chile] was also very welcome."
Stindl’s outstanding ability operating between midfield and attack for Gladbach last season helped the former Karlsruher and Hannover player to produce a phenomenal 18 goals, 11 of which were registered in the Bundesliga. The Rhineland-Palatinate native also hit the target in the DFB Cup, UEFA Champions League and the Europa League, earning him a new deal at the Foals that runs until 2021. "He has a central role in our plans for the next few years," Borussia’s sporting director Max Eberl enthused.
Yet could Joachim Löw be thinking the same about Stindl in terms of next year’s World Cup? After witnessing the in-form star revel in a false nine role throughout Confederations Cup, the Germany tactician was understandably pleased.
"Lars is great at finding openings. We needed a player who could lay the ball off well," the 2014 FIFA World Cup winning coach said. "He's also calm but self-assured. He's a personality and displays no signs of nerves. He's a refined player with a fantastic reading of the game and he knows how to use space. He’s been very convincing for us so far."
Germany’s oldest player against the South American champions in the group stages, Stindl added plenty of enthusiasm and exuberance to the youngest squad at the Confederations Cup, with his versatility a major asset to his team at the tournament.
"I learned [in the build-up to the Chile game] that I would be operating largely alone [up front]," the attacker noted. "I tried to make the best of it and offer myself to my team-mates. Our goal [against Chile in the group stages] came from the type of forward move we were looking to make happen. We pushed the ball around well and added some fast link-up play. It was a good, deep pass from Emre Can while Jonas [Hector] made a good run and crossed well; I just had to knock it in after that."
Following a maiden international triumph in a silverware-laden year for German football, if Stindl can produce another solid season for Borussia Mönchengladbach in the coming campaign he could well be making headlines for Germany in Russia again this time next year.