Opinion: Mesut Özil is a talent who transforms even good teams
There were numerous strong displays from German players on Monday, but it was Mesut Özil who demonstrated the guile to take his team to another level. DW's Jonathan Harding thinks he's a player we should just appreciate.
During their 6-0 mauling by Germany on Monday, Norway delivered the kind of display that Arsenal fans have spent much of this season suffering. Lacklustre, below-par, at times embarrassing. They were however, also facing a Germany side in full attack mode and ironically, it was an Arsenal man who led the charge.
Mesut Özil was fantastic. His footwork in tight spaces was breathtaking, his awareness extraordinary. He scored a goal - his first for Germany in over a year - and assisted a second. Three days earlier, he assisted Timo Werner's opener in the win against the Czech Republic.
The man that is regularly the scapegoat in defeat for both club and country timed his return to form well, given Arsenal's current plight and his frustrated Facebook post about the situation on his social media channels.
Make no mistake, there were plenty of praises to sing after the 6-0 win - Joshua Kimmich delivering another wonderful performance at right back, Sebastian Rudy proving that Germany are just better with two defensive midfielders and Timo Werner ending concerns about the future of German strikers once and for all. A lot of that can be attributed to the positive atmosphere that the German national team has been able to generate during Joachim Löw's tenure, but Özil's performance sent the most intriguing message.
DW's Jonathan Harding
Mesut Özil has never stopped being a brilliant player. Goals and assists make sexy stats, but there are many ways to create and to act as a playmaker that aren't always shown in the numbers. Criticzed at the World Cup in 2014, he had one of the highest passing numbers in the attacking third. Questions were also asked at the 2016 European Championships, a tournament where Özil's movement in the final third was play changing.
So often it's black and white with Özil, but to understand his game it's critical to look in the same place where he is at his best - between the lines. He might not be the man to wrestle the game back in your favor, but when you play well he is the one to take you to a devastating next level. Two games in four days for Germany gave us a welcome look at a top-class player at his best.