Scouting Report: Max Kruse

November 18, 2013 in Europe, Features by Ballsy Banter

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The enviously efficient German production-line has delivered some top class talents through the years, and one has only to shed an eye over some player who aren’t 23 yet – Götze, Kroos, Ter Stegen, Draxler. Add younger talents like Emre Can, Max Meyer, Bernd Leno (Germany’s version of Jack Butland), Matthias Ginter and Leon Goretzka; it makes one wonder what the hell is in their water. Then there is always the case of ‘late-bloomers’, those who look decent in their younger years, but like a fine South African red wine just gets better and better as they get older. Players like Phil Jagielka, Stefan Kießling, Roman Weidenfeller, Dante, Leon Osman (LOL) and to a lesser extent Michu have all hit their best form in their latter years, only coming to the fore when the 30’s come ever closer. But one player has largely gone under the English fans’ radar: Max Kruse.

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Having just played his best season, where he scored 13 and assisted 12 for both club and country, Max Kruse joined Borussia Mönchengladbach for a mere €2.5m from Freiburg due to a stupid release clause; unlucky Freiburg, unlucky. With a modest five caps for the National team (vs Sweden, Ireland, the Faroe Islands, Austria and USA) , and on the back of an excellent season, Kruse is set to light the Bundesliga on fire. After slotting in seamlessly into a young, promising team and under the tactical nouse of Lucien Favre, Kruse has the foundation to work from and really hit new heights. With seven goals and four assists already this season, one goal coming against Borussia Dortmund, he may just do that.

But who is this fellow, and how does he play? Well, for all the FM-lovers, he can be described as an Advanced Forward; he acts as the ‘spear-head’ of his team’s attacks (content owned by Sports Interactive). While his movement can be considered his best quality, he is also exceptional at holding the ball up, allowing the advanced midfielders to make runs into the box or when on a counter-attack. He’s excellent with the ball at his feet and the boy can find teammates with ease; be it by pass or cross, a more direct ball or a shorter pass. Though he isn’t the best in the air, I guess it doesn’t matter when you look at his stats. He’s efficient, he’s lively and he’s certainly a promising ‘prospect’.

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A Few Stats

This season Kruse has played in 12 Bundesliga games, but what does he bring to the table except for the goals and a few assists? 2.3 shots, 2.3 key passes and 4 succesful dribbles and 1.6 crosses on average per game makes for some good reading; add an 83.6% passing completion rate and he looks like an absolute gem for any team.The only ‘weak-point’ in his game, has to be his defensive contribution, and with forwards regarded as the most important defenders by the hipster-footballers, it is an area of his game he certainly will have to work on.

What can be considered to be the signing of the season, Max Kruse has it all to do, and luckily for him not too many are watching. With a reletively decent injury history, bar a tibia fracture four years ago, it looks like Borussia Mönchengladbach have got a gem on their hands. Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure – the talent coming out of Germany scares me.

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