Long has Joachim Löw labored over the question of Germany's future striker. Even before Miroslav Klose's final hurrah in Brazil, there were question marks about who Germany could turn to for their goals (other than Thomas Müller). Mario Gomez always seemed more like an option B (and might even have seen Sandro Wagner take that role from him), Mesut Özil didn't feel quite at home and Mario Götze peaked that night in the Maracana. And yet as Germany moved one step closer to winning the Confederations Cup, one striker has already staked his claim to be the player both Löw and Germany have long been looking for.
Timo Werner scored twice in Germany's win over Cameroon. His first was a neatly executed diving header, the second a composed finish in the box that shows the confidence levels of the striker. He would have a hattrick were it not for some poor officiating, and it wouldn't have been undeserved either. In the press conference afterwards, the striker, who was named man of the match, said: "I needed a bit of time to warm up. I missed two chances earlier in the game and was a bit frustrated at that."
His frustration is a testament to the standard he sets himself. Last season he scored a noteable 21 goals for a RB Leipzig team that can look forward to potentially playing Real Madrid, Chelsea or Juventus in the Champions League next season. And all of this, after being bold enough to leave his hometown club Stuttgart - a move his development desperately needed.
Since then, Werner has been like a player reborn. Quicker than he appears on screen, his pace has left most Bundesliga defenses in pain - Cameroon got off lightly. Werner's decision making has also improved and he has benefitted enormously from Leipzig's ruthless pressing style. Pivotally though, his composure in front of goal is less of an issue and his versatility in attack leaves him the perfect player for both his country and his club's style of play.
Leipzig though, aren't a popular club and so his choice made him hard to love for some German football fans, especially after his infamous dive against Schalke last season. Werner though, appears capable of handling it. On Sunday, he was quoted as saying to popular German newspaper BILD, "Kobe Bryant was booed and he was the best. I'm not saying I am the best, but it spurs me on."
While comparisons with one of the all-time greatest basketball players might be a bit premature, the 21-year-old's time is very much now and not just the future. This won't be the last time he plays and scores for Germany in Russia.Jonathan Harding