'Magical' Mesut Ozil's return to form is a boon for Real Madrid

The German has recently found his form from last season and is quickly becoming decisive for the Galacticos in crunch games...
 Kishen Patel
 Analysis | La Liga
Follow on

Mesut Ozil has emerged as an unlikely saviour of Real Madrid in recent times. Usually, the “saviour” tag is reserved for Cristiano Ronaldo or sometimes even Iker Casillas but the German’s improving form is helping edge out the opposition in crucial games like over the weekend where Ozil’s double gave Madrid a vital three points against Valladolid. It is extremely vital for the Merengues that Ozil finds his form from last season as his contribution is invaluable.



At the start of the 2012-13 season, Ozil struggled to replicate his form from his previous two seasons for Madrid where he dished out 25 and 24 assists respectively. During the opening few matches, Ozil couldn’t influence the game as much as he’d have liked to and consequently he was dropped to the bench in games against Manchester City, Granada, Rayo and Ajax. He had a horror showing in the defeat against Sevilla and Betis and was hooked on for Modric and Kaka in respective games at the half time. In both those defeats, Ozil looked out of pace, often misplaced his passes and many weren’t weighted properly either. The German was uncharacteristically sloppy on the ball, often giving away possession and being bullied by opponents’ midfield. Sometimes he neglected responsibility and often left the orchestrating of the play to Xabi Alonso alone. This is something that Luka Modric is better at, he likes to get on the ball and pick out passes and isn’t afraid of pulling the strings in opponents’ half.

Nevertheless, Kaka and Modric’s fine form spurred Ozil into taking action and he did so with a fine display in the Clasico at Nou Camp. Unlike in his previous games, Ozil was more decisive on the ball and set up Ronaldo with a perfect through ball. He assisted Ronaldo with an excellent pass from the deep in the defeat against Dortmund but his influence was limited by BVB’s quick pressing.

Mesut’s magic salvaged a point for the Blancos at home against Dortmund when he assisted Pepe with a far post cross and scored from a brilliant freekick right at the death. The German’s fine form continued in the games against Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid and Valladolid. Ozil scored in all three matches and showcased his ability for intricate passing and set-piece delivery. He sealed the Madrid Derby with a well taken half volley and scored two hugely important goals in the difficult encounter against Valladolid.

He looked eager to get onto the ball and find spaces to exploit, thereby producing a typical display that one would expect from a player of his quality. The former Bremen man even ousted Ronaldo to take the decisive free-kick on two occasions, scoring from both, and has proved that he is also lethal from such set-pieces.

"He played well, but not only with the ball and scoring the goals, he also did what he needed to. We know very well how well he can play and he showed that throughout the match. The work that he did without the ball during the match was spectacular. Today we saw the Mesut Ozil that we all know and that we all like to see.”

- Aitor Karanka

Assistant coach Aitor Karanka was all praise for the “Wizard of Oz”, he singled out that the German’s off the ball movement had hugely improved and he remained decisive with the ball at his feet as well. Maybe Ozil picked up a few pointers while he was relegated to the bench.

In an ultra competitive team like Madrid, a player has to consistently perform at his best or else he might find himself on the periphery. With the arrival of Modric, Ozil’s hold on the starting position was once against threatened and he was compelled to quickly regain his form or lose his place. An in-form Ozil can create several opportunities for his team-mates as well as scoring a few important goals, as and when needed.

How do you stay up with football when on the move? With http://m.goal.com –your best source for mobile coverage of the beautiful game.