Often criticzed and inconsistent, Andre Schürrle put in a timely performance for Germany against Azerbaijan. The BVB winger showed all of his qualities and must now aim to be more consistent.
It seems a long time since Andre Schürrle crossed the ball for Mario Götze in the Maracana. The 26-year-old has since swapped London for Dortmund (via Wolfsburg), pushing up the total spent on his services to over 90 million euros ($97.8 million). His inconsistency remains, as does his spot in the Germany team - but against Azerbaijan the winger showed why Joachim Löw will never doubt him.
Schürrle's pressing - and vision - created Germany's second goal. His movement allowed him the opportunity to score twice - the second goal was smashed home with the kind of confidence the winger has been looking for since perhaps that night in Brazil in 2014. It was a night of vintage Schürrle, which for many became a reminder of what exactly vintage Schürrle is.
Beyond the stats, Schürrle's work off the ball is exactly what Joachim Löw likes about him. He puts in the yards that don't make a YouTube clip or highlight reel, but do show up on opposition analyses. Azerbaijan will have watched film on Schürrle, but the BVB man's performance made it seem like they hadn't watched enough. After all, the Dortmund winger might well have had a hattrick.
On Wednesday, Schürrle replaced Julian Brandt after an hour against England. Brandt had shown flashes of his class but had also shown his lack of work off the ball. Brandt likes one-on-one situations and the chance to be the playmaker but rarely did he try and win the ball back high up the pitch. Schürrle put pressure on when he came on on Wednesday and just kept going in Sunday's qualifier.
He was involved in half of Germany's 20 shots and was one of Germany's best players on a night when, according to Mats Hummels, Germany played arrogantly. Schürrle said afterwards he feels the trust of Löw, adding: "which is obviously different when I don't always play." It would be too easy to suggest Schürrle feels a lack of trust from Thomas Tuchel, the man who made him at Mainz, but it is clear that Schürrle hasn't always been a mainstay in Dortmund's teams this season. Performances like the one in Baku are something BVB fans would love to see more of - something both Schürrle and Tuchel must work hard on.
It was the 26-year-old's first goal for Germany since June 2015 - ironically also the last time he played 90 minutes - and yet Löw has never wavered. Often critized for his selections, Löw's choices are revealing given closer inspection. Schürrle might well be one of the most frustrating wingers in the modern game, and at 30 million euros he is one of the most overpriced. However, just like with Löw's Germany, there is much more than meets the eye to Schürrle.