It’s a dog’s life for Germany’s Goetze

Evian (France) (AFP) – Germany’s World Cup winner Mario Goetze has brushed off criticism of his form at Euro 2016 by insisting, “sometimes you’re the dog, sometimes you’re the tree”.

The 24-year-old’s star has fallen since Goetze came off the bench and scored the winning goal in extra time for Germany in the 2014 World Cup final.

He has spent the last two years either injured or mainly on the bench at Bayern Munich, where Pep Guardiola prefered Thiago Alcantara in the attacking midfield role.

And despite starting both of Germany’s group games in France, the false nine has failed to impress, which has seen him criticised by pundits back home.

In their opening 2-0 win over Ukraine, Goezte did not touch the ball for 18 minutes in the first half.

He had one clear shot on goal in his 90 minutes on the pitch and against Poland, he managed just two shots in 66 minutes.

“So that’s football. Sometimes you’re the dog, sometimes you’re the tree. That part of the business,” Goetze said in answer to the criticism.

Neither Goetze or Germany’s replacement striker Mario Gomez have hit the back of the net in France as Germany prepare for Tuesday’s final Group C game against Northern Ireland.

Germany need a point to progress to the last 16 having beaten Ukraine and been held to a goalless draw by Poland.

Germany’s team manager Oliver Bierhoff has said the top sides at these European Championship finals are having trouble breaking down defences of smaller nations.

“Teams are having trouble against the smaller nations when they don’t maintain their tempo in games or play with sophistication,” said Bierhoff.

“We’re not a team that uses a crowbar (to break defences down).

“We have to use our technical skills, attacking the box at fast pace.

“If we’re talking about efficiency, we have to be happy that the team controlled a game,” he added in reference to last Thursday’s unimpressive draw with Poland.

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