Before Saturday’s Bundesliga game against TSG Hoffenheim, Mario Gomez had failed to score in three matches. For a normal striker, this would go unnoticed. But when you have scored 79 goals in your previous 124 games you are judged differently to other players. Super Mario scored a hat-trick to push Bayern back into contention for the Championship. Yet as good as that performance was, what he did against FC Basel last night in the Champions League was even more special.
Even after the 7-1 victory at the weekend, Bayern fans were nervous about this game. FC Basel have been one of the surprise packages of the Champions League this season. With a team full of talented young players, they emerged from a tough group and were worthy winners against Bayern in the first leg. Yet world-class footballers cannot be stopped when they are in the mood, and Gomez’s four goals showed every area that makes him one of the world’s deadliest marksmen.
His first goal showed his predatory instincts. When the ball broke down the right in the box in the 44th minute, Gomez drifted to the back post and tapped into an empty net with his left foot. His second was all about his athleticism. Watching Ribery’s run down the left early in the second-half, he timed his diagonal run to perfection and leapt into the air to side-foot a volley into the top corner.
His third goal highlighted his aerial ability. When Ribery again left his man chasing shadows, Gomez moved away from his marker on 61 minutes and jumped majestically to head the ball home. Some players might have stopped at this point, happy with a hat-trick, but not Gomez.
With 67 minutes of the match gone, that man Ribery again created havoc on the left hand side. Pulling away from two central defenders towards the penalty spot, Gomez got in the perfect position to meet Ribery’s pass with a powerful left-footed strike that left the goalkeeper with no chance.
Following these two victories, Bayern are five points behind Borussia Dortmund with nine games remaining in the Bundesliga and are into the quarter-finals in the Champions League. With Gomez hitting top-form at the right time, this could be a glorious end to the season for the team they call FC Hollywood.