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Holtby Aims High After Stunning Start To Bundesliga Season

One For The Future: Lewis Holtby

Schalke’s Lewis Holtby, who is currently spending a year out on loan at Mainz (who are currently top of the Bundesliga table thanks in no small part to Holtby himself), has spoken of further accomplishment and glory, and has set himself on becoming the next Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Holtby, who currently captains the Germany U-21 side, and who I think was very unlucky not to be called up to Joachim Loew’s senior squad for European Championship qualifiers against Turkey and Kazakhstan, has been on scintillating form for Mainz this season. His work down the right wing, where he absolutely terrorizes opposition full-backs on a weekly basis, has made him a joy to watch this season. At Schalke, he would have been under pressure to perform due to their current situation. At Mainz, though, he is riding a wave of unexpected success, which has undoubtedly freed up his play. Thomas Tuchel, the manager of Mainz, has passed on to his players a real passion and joy for the game, and it’s been displayed by his side against all odds. Mainz defeated Wolfsburg at the Volkswagen Arena despite being three goals down at one stage; they defeated last year’s Champions League finalists and current Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich; and they have matched the best Bundesliga start in history with seven straight wins.

Under Tuchel’s guidance, Holtby has quickly become one of the most promising young talents in all of Europe. Holtby spoke to Bild and said:

“In my young career, I’ve experienced a lot already: a relegation battle, the tough training of Felix Magath, the fresh perspectives of Tuchel. I hope that, at age 25, I will be as mature as Bastian Schweinsteiger is today. I will then have the experience and poise on the pitch and ball that he has.”

A player as young as Holtby is who has already experienced so much and who shows such astounding talent on a regular basis is surely destined for great things in the future. The Bundesliga continues to churn out fantastic young players who will no doubt set the world’s game alight in years to come. Brazil 2014 may be Holtby’s tournament, like 2010’s was to Thomas Mueller.

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  1. David H

    October 13, 2010 at 5:10 am

    Diriye — yeah, unfortunately I’m one of those w/o access to ESPN3. You’d think they’d want to make more money out of it & offer it for a price to us unlucky few. But then I’m used to my cable provider being dumber than dirt. That’s why I have DISH Network & Bell ExpressVu. And there’s always the hundreds if not thousands of free internet streams anyway. Having amassed a bevy of TV-related equipment & laptops I can watch at least 5 matches at once. Somebody up there likes me.

  2. Diriye

    October 13, 2010 at 4:28 am

    Interesting battle between Nuri Sahin and Mesut in front of Joachim Loew: 1:35-1:50. Mesut tries to shake the Dortmund man off but no success and he is forced to pass the ball to back. Off the field they are good friends. lol


    ESPN 3 has a replay service but you have to have one ofthe internet services they list. It is great site for socccer fans.

  3. David H

    October 13, 2010 at 1:39 am

    That’s a really cool video, a type which I’ve only recently discovered. — this one of Andrea Pirlo, the one where he scored the 40-yard goal, is mesmerizing & shows him at his controlling & elegant best. T

    So thanks for this one of Özil.

    We had a power outage today right during the games (it was planned, but I don’t read our mail,) so I only got to see a late game or two, using my phone to connect my laptop to the internet. Short story long, I missed the Germany game, dammit.

  4. David H

    October 12, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    “Anyone remember that little trick Marin pulled off shaking two Sampadoria defenders before he slipped the ball to Pizzaro for the winner in CL qualifying match”

    That move is pretty much why they’re in the Champions League proper. I played that over & over, then showed it to my wife (she plays, too.) Such a great, great play, just when they needed it.

    Now if they could just do something with the opportunity Marin gave them!

  5. Diriye

    October 12, 2010 at 7:23 pm


    Along with Holtby I would keep an eye on Dortmund’s young centeral midfielder, Sven Bender. He may need to improve his passing game but his destructive instincts and work ethic is easily on par with Loew’s team.
    I am also huge fan of Badstuber’s offensive quality. His ability to pick a pass in congested midfield and feed the attacking midfeild before the opposing defense settles is impressive. Most games where Loew’s team struggle are the games where the attacking midfield doesn’t get enough supplies and had to be forced a feeding from the wingers. Badstuber delivers that unpredicatble direct passes to attacking midfied that throws the opposing defenders into disarray particulary with Ozil being able to make a decision before their defense settle in. I think Schweinsteiger quality, controling the game and distributing the ball right- left-center, is great asset but Badstuber’s accurate long passes, bypassing the two centeral defender and directly into ATM is perhaps the greatest asset for Loew’s team since South Africa.

    Check out Badstuber’s delivery: 3:40, 4:05, 4:38

    • Dylan Thomas

      October 12, 2010 at 9:04 pm

      I agree with both points. Sven Bender looks great in the center of midfield for Dortmund, and his brother at Leverkusen looks very handy too. For the Sweden friendly in November, I hope we see Holtby and Sven Bender in the midfield together. I also want to see more of Grosskreutz, because he looks full of promise as well.

      I’ve been really surprised with Badstuber. I think David H was making that same point a little while ago about Badstuber’s seemingly new ability for being so adept on the ball. I also really like his partnership with Heiko Westermann, but I still want to see Mats Hummels in there.

  6. Diriye

    October 12, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Contrary to what English fans are saying, how difficult the competion in the German midfield is and how that could convince Holtby to play for England,I think Holtby relishes the chance to play along side Mesut and Schweinsteiger and learn from them; like the last part of the interview where he says “of course I look up to them and learn from them”

    Actions speak louder

    It was the same with Marin at Bremen. He became a better player playing along side Mesut. Though Marin is great with the ball he picked up few tricks from his Bremen mate. Anyone remember that little trick Marin pulled off shaking two Sampadoria defenders before he slipped the ball to Pizzaro for the winner in CL qualifying match. I remember watching Mesut do the same little trick in Bundesliga match in front of Marin. I couldn’t help laughing when Marin pulled that one off and kept the Bremen tradition.

  7. David H

    October 11, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    Interesting interview — thought he might sound more English than German.

    There’s not a chance in hell he’ll play for England, unless he’s developmentally disabled. He’s being polite, but he also likes to win, and have a chance to win the WM.

    OT — I didn’t realize/know until this weekend that Özil is 6′. TV is deceiving. I thought he looked like small, but then I discovered he’s tall-ish, and suddenly he looks ilke a big guy.

  8. Diriye

    October 11, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    I think it is a good idea for Joachim loew to bring Holtby in, sooner rather than later. He is better off learning in the inside, being paired with Ozil Marin and Kroos. Technically he is extremely gifted and shares more characteristics with Mesut; vision, killer pass, taking defenders on 1-to-1. He could also give Mesut a chance to rest particularly when the team is playing with minnows. After the Sweden game he should be brought in.

    Interview with Holtby(English)

    • Dylan Thomas

      October 11, 2010 at 11:34 pm

      He was brought up in Germany though, it was probably his first language so no wonder he’s got the accent. I can’t wait to see where Joachim Loew will put him and Schuerrle when he decides to call them both up. The competition for places in the national team just keeps getting more and more intense with the rise of so many young players.

      I can’t believe Ozil is six feet tall. I dont know if you’re familiar with him, but Andrey Arshavin says he’s 5’8. He’s nowhere close to that size!

  9. David H

    October 11, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    I like that Löw left him out. Too often you see a guy do well early in a season, or early in a career, then he’s fast-tracked to the national team too early, before he’s had a chance to establish himself over the course of a season or two. No reason to rush, the national team have plenty of talent on board to qualify.

    Of course, if the’re as good as Thomas Müller then you have no choice but to play him, but I think it’s sensible to wait with Holtby, play him in a friendly, then take him along for a qualifier, let him watch from the bench, etc. I don’t want to see too much too soon being expected of him.

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