While Mario Götze scored the only goal of the game in Borussia Dortmund’s win over Manchester City in Chicago, Andre Schürrle was negotiating a move away from the club. After being told he was free to leave the club, Schürrle left BVB’s US Tour before it had really even started to join Fulham on a two-year loan deal.
Schürrle returns to London, where he used to play in the blue of Chelsea. The hope is that change will do him good, because it has been quite some time since anyone got the best out of him. Thomas Tuchel appeared to have the answer back in 2010 at Mainz, and for a while so did others as Schürrle bounced around Europe. But by the time the pair reunited at Borussia Dortmund, Schürrle was not the player who sent an incredible cross to Mario Götze in the final minutes of a World Cup final.
Schürrle is not a sexy winger, at least not anymore. His YouTube highlight reel might include daring cuts in from out wide, but such moves haven’t been seen much of late. The same could be said for his one-on-one skill, decisive movement or speed, but to look for it would partly be to miss what Schürrle is all about.
International career in danger
In March 2017, he delivered a fine performance for Germany against Azerbaijan in a World Cup qualifier. He scored two and assisted one and left a timely reminder of what is capable of. Schürrle put in the hard yards, closing down the spaces for the opposition and opening them up for his teammates. He understood his role in the team and functioned as one of the leading cogs in the machine, even scoring one emphatically-finished goal. He looked confident, and played like a man who in five transfers has amassed an accumulated transfer fee of nearly €100 million ($117m).
That was the last time Schürrle played for Germany to date. Without the performances for Dortmund, not even Joachim Löw — perhaps the world’s most trusting and loyal head coach — could justify continuing to select Schürrle. Therein lies the crux of Schürrle’s problem. The 27-year-old needs to be believed in, but he has struggled to deliver the performances that merit it. Granted, niggly injuries haven’t helped, but the problem is that while Schürrle does a great deal of the defensive work often desired in a modern winger, he has struggled to produce enough of an attacking threat enough of the time.
The hope is at Fulham, Schürrle’s sixth club, will help him rediscover that balance and at just 27, there appears to be a great deal of time left for the attacker to do so. But for a man in need of consistency, trust and the right environment, his return to London will likely decide what the rest of Schürrle’s career looks like.