For VfL Wolfsburg's Andre Schürrle, it has certainly not been a bad week.
The FIFA World Cup winner can be more than satisfied with his performances against SV Werder Bremen and PFC CSKA Moskva, and while he may not have managed to find a breakthrough against FC Augsburg, he did at least play the full 90 minutes for only the third time this season.
Kruse: 'We know what quality he's got'
"It's not all that big a deal," said Schürrle humbly. "I know that I can decide games and score goals." He began showing that in Wolfsburg colours a week ago, with two assists in a 6-0 win over Bremen, before adding a well-taken goal and an assist in the crucial 2-0 UEFA Champions League win at CSKA . It has not been all that common for the 25-year-old to capture the headlines this season, but belief in his own ability has never waned. Nor has that of his team-mates, in fact.
"We always gave Andre the feeling that we believed in him," said Max Kruse in midweek. "We know what quality he's got." Gradually, the former 1. FSV Mainz 05, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Chelsea FC man is revealing it to Wolfsburg fans, thanks also to some stern yet supportive words from his coach Dieter Hecking.
Sporting director Klaus Allofs also played his part in Schürrle's recent revival by deflecting some of the criticism from a player many had hoped would take the Wolves onto the next level and see them challenge for silverware this season. "We're not going to give a press conference about Andre Schürrle every day," Allofs said, protecting the player, who himself welcomed the chance to "let a bit of peace and quiet set in and concentrate on my football, rather than giving interviews."
He was in more of a talkative mood on Sunday, however, in spite of the goalless draw at Augsburg which saw his side lose ground on second-placed Borussia Dortmund, whom they meet next Saturday. "It was a committed game from us, in terms of our running and fighting," Schürrle said. "We just struggled to hurt them up front, particularly in the first half."
'Been working extremely hard'
Despite leading his side's statistics with 34 sprints, Schürrle also admitted he can do better; three solid performances do not make a season. "I've got to keep working hard," he said. "I've been working extremely hard in recent weeks."
The result has been evident, but for 2015 to end on a high note, there is still a final straight riddled with obstacles such as Dortmund, Manchester United FC, Hamburger SV and VfB Stuttgart to negotiate. "We've got to win these games, and then it will be all good," said Schürrle, finally able to show a wry smile after arguably his best week in a Wolfsburg shirt.