By Lee Dover
Mario Gomez may have rampaged his way through the German Bundesliga over the years, but he has often felt like a plumber without his tools when the major international tournaments have come knocking.
Super Mario was a member of the Germany teams who impressed the world with great showings in Euro 2008 and the World Cup 2010.
However, the ever-threatening striker failed to find the back of the net once in either competition, as opportunity after opportunity just kept on flying by.
Gomez’s performances on some of the grandest stages of football have been a far cry from what the German ace has achieved in domestic competition.
He is often one of the first names on Bayern Munich’s teamsheet and has not let his club down – banging in 80 goals in the past two seasons alone.
The only two footballers who can hold a candle up to that phenomenal measuring stick are Portuguese wonder Cristiano Ronaldo and the Argentinean maestro that is Lionel Messi. Not bad company right there.
But just as Super Mario’s health on an international scene was starting to flash as it hit critical levels, the German hitman managed to find the power up necessary to turn his career in his country’s colours around.
The turning point came in the 72nd minute of Germany’s first game in Euro 2012 against Portugal, when the teams were still at deadlock.
Joachim Low was waiting for the ball to go out so he could try and shift the game in Germany’s favour by taking off a misfiring Gomez and bring on prolific goalscorer Miroslav Klose.
Although it is fair to say that this was not necessarily Low’s intent, the thought of sitting out the remainder of the game – if not the entire tournament – on the bench was the kick up the backside Super Mario needed to head in the only goal of the tie.
And so the floodgates were opened. This was evident when Gomez struck the two goals which condemned the Netherlands to a heartbreaking defeat and then assisted Lukas Podolski’s goal that put Germany on their way to a win against Denmark and booked their place in the knockout stages of the European Championships.
So can Super Mario continue his quest and bring glory to Germany? Paddy Power has odds of 9/2 on a juicy double that the Germans will run away from Poland and Ukraine as Euro 2012 champions and Gomez will bag the top goalscorer honour if you have faith in this quest.