Toni Kroos has never been so valuable

Toni Kroos stood alone as the most promising talent of German football during his time as a junior with FC Bayern Munich. On September 17, 2007, he became the youngest Bayern professional ever to make his Bundesliga debut at the age of 17 years and 265 days. At the U17 World Cup he was honoured as the best player of the tournament. Four years later Kroos is increasingly becoming the key player at FC Bayern.

The Mecklenburg-born player produced outstanding performances during an eight-game winning streak in the Bundesliga and on European level, enjoyed by the Munich club since their opening defeat to Moenchengladbach. And the tall blond even emerged as a deputy leader on the international stage during the 2-2 draw in Poland at the beginning of September. He scored his first goal for the 2006 and 2010 World Cup bronze medallists in his 21st international match by coolly converting a penalty.

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At 21 Toni Kroos is a key player in the German national team for coach Joachim Loew. He also plays a major role with FC Bayern Munich. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)

On September 14, at the opening match of the 2011-12 Champions League at FC Villarreal, he scored the all-important goal for the 1-0 lead during the 2-0 victory over the Spaniards. FC Bayern won its first Champions League match in Spain in 10 years. Goalscorer Kroos considered the win just as “a first small step” on the road to the final, which will take place in Munich on May 19, 2012. By September 18, when Bayern shone during the 2-0 away victory over Schalke, Kroos had missed just one of the 10 competitive matches of the record-winning German champions. “The coach lets the players rotate. Anybody can sit on the bench. But I got many playing opportunities”, Kroos disclosed.

Kroos has a place in the national team and with Bayern

Kroos was also in the starting line-up for all three international matches against Brazil (3-2), Austria (6-2) and Poland (2-2), and received special praise from national coach Joachim Loew. And this was certainly not because a just 21-year-old might need special encouragement after 93 Bundesliga matches. It was the successively brilliant performances by Toni Kroos that positively enthused Loew. “He played well in the three matches in May and June; he played well in the 2010 World Cup year; he played well in some European Championship qualifiers; he has blended in smoothly”, said Loew, listing the virtues. “How Toni distributes the ball, how he receives it, that’s very good. He is technically excellent. He is ever present in a match, making him more dangerous in front of goal. He has made further steps forward in the last few matches. I am extremely satisfied with the player”.

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Toni Kroos found his counterpart Kyriakos Papadopoulos several times in midfield during FC Bayern’s strong performance, which ended in a 2-0 victory at Schalke 04. (Photo: Firo/Augenklick)


Kroos is an all-rounder also in Bayern’s midfield. The Munich club stormed to the top when, after the 1-0 loss to Moenchengladbach in the season’s opener, they won five Bundesliga matches, two against FC Zurich (1-0, 2-0) in the Champions League qualification and finally 2-0 at Villarreal in the first game of the group stage, without conceding a single goal. That’s a goal tally of 23-0. The 18-1 goal tally in the Bundesliga after six rounds is the best Bayern have recorded for 39 years. It is also thanks to Kroos that coach Jupp Heynckes considers his team near to perfection, despite Arjen Robben’s absence due to injury.

All-rounder Kroos can play anywhere in midfield

Kroos himself emphasises that he can play in any midfield position, be it defensive or offensive. “I don’t care whether it’s at 6, 8 or 10. I have shown that I can play everywhere”, he said. When he was on loan to Bayer Leverkusen he took the final step to becoming a Bundesliga regular under coach Heynckes. He played 27 of the 34 Bundesliga matches last season under Louis van Gaal and his successor Andries Joncker, often however as a substitute. Since the start of the season, when his mentor Heynckes returned to Munich, Kroos’s star has risen higher.

The young man from Mecklenburg-West Pomerania is very detached. He began playing football with SC Greifswald. His father Roland, a former wrestler, was his coach. His mother Birgit is a former GDR badminton champion. The Kroos family is practically a sports club. Toni’s brother Felix has a contract with Werder Bremen. The just 21-year-old Bayern player has been handed greater responsibility, as shown in the national team’s encounter with Poland. “I looked around to see whether anyone wanted to take the penalty. Then I took the ball myself. I converted one or two penalties during preparation with Bayern. Consequently I thought I would do it here too”, Kroos disclosed. He coolly equalised for 1-1, with the match finally ending 2-2 after a turbulent final stage.

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Franck Ribéry (left), here pictured tackling Mario Gaspar, again played brilliantly for FC Bayern during the 2-0 Champions League win at FC Villarreal. (Photo: Firo/Augenklick)


Unrivalled Bayern nearing perfection

The Bavarians meanwhile stormed to the top of the table without a draw, becoming better and better. “That was our season-best performance. We played outstandingly well in the second half. That’s great football”, said Heynckes after the 2-0 at DFB Cup champions Schalke. “And may it thus continue”, he added. But it could be even better. “We have a lot of quality in the squad. When Arjen Robben, Mario Gomez and also Breno come back, we’ll have even more possibilities”.

Heynckes praised the great team spirit. “The players understand each other not only on the pitch, but also off it. Everybody fulfils his obligations”. Munich’s President Uli Hoeness was thrilled: “The team is blossoming”. His prediction that there would be an explosive improvement under Heynckes was coming true. “As it is looking now, it will be a one horse race – I fear. Sometimes such a roll can lead to arrogant behaviour. But the Bavarians don’t do that. They are a closely honed unit”, said Schalke’s sports director Horst Held, thus predicting that the 2012 German champions will be FC Bayern Munich.