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Lars Stindl: From Late Bloomer to German International

Lars Stindl
LEIPZIG, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 16: Lars Stindl of Moenchengladbach (center) celebrates after he scored his teams second goal to make it 2:2 during the Bundesliga match between RB Leipzig and Borussia Moenchengladbach at Red Bull Arena on September 16, 2017 in Leipzig, Germany. (Photo by Boris Streubel/Bongarts/Getty Images )

When mentioning the German national team, names like Thomas Muller, Marco Reus, Mats Hummels, and Manuel Neuer all come to mind when brought up in discussion

After their success in the 2017 Confederations Cup, Die Mannschaft have a new hero in their ranks, a late bloomer who is considered by many to be an underrated talent in the Bundeliga, Lars Stindl.

Born in Speyer, Germany, Stindl plied his trade as youth in the TSV Wiesental setup, then for Karlsruher SC.

He made his Bundesliga debut for Karlsruher in the 2007/08 season and after subsequent seasons in the second division, he completed a transfer to Hannover 96 in the summer of 2010/11.

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While he’s highly regarded as a forward, goals were hard to come by for Stindl during his stint at Hannover. He only scored 9 goals in his first four seasons at the club.

He had his breakthrough in the 2014/15 season as he found his goal scoring touch.

Operating as a forward who likes to drop into midfield and facilitate, he scored 10 goals in the Bundesliga as Hannover finished 13th in the table.

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His breakout season earned him a high-profile transfer of one of Germany’s historic clubs, Borussia Monchengladbach at the age of 26.

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For Die Fohlenelf, he picked up where he left off at Hannover as he tallied 14 goals and 11 assists across all competitions.

If the 2015/16 season didn’t put Stindl on Jogi Low’s radar, 2016/17 did.

Stindl became a household name in Germany last season as he increased his goal tally to 18 across all competitions. He was ever present in the club’s Champions League campaign, scoring three times and creating 17 chances in the group stage. His ability to make imposing runs, finding open space, and assisting his teammates, made him a player to be feared. While the team finished 9th, he was the team’s top scorer.

With Low opting not to take his top stars to the Confederations Cup, he made wholesale changes to the squad handing, the ‘Gladbach captain his first international call up at the age of 28, making him the oldest player on the squad heading to Russia.

Trying to make an impression on Low, he scored in their 3-2 victory against Australia, and their 1-1 draw vs. Chile.

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To put icing on the cake, he scored the only goal in the final against Chile.

His performance in the tournament put a smile on Low’s face, who had a lot to say about the ‘Gladbach captain’s play:

“Lars is great at finding openings. We needed a player who could lay the ball off well….”He’s also calm but self-assured. He’s a personality and displays no signs of nerves. He’s a refined player with a fantastic reading of the game and he knows how to use space. He’s been very convincing for us so far.”

He finished the tournament with three goals, on par with Timo Werner and Leon Goretzka.

As a result, he’s been included in Germany’s World Cup qualifying campaign, making starts vs. Czech Republic and San Marino.

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Stindl has been ever present in the opening games for ‘Gladbach this season, scoring a wonder goal in their 2-2 draw vs. RB Leipzig.

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At the age of 29, Stindl will look to lead ‘Gladbach in all departments offensively and lead the team to a Champions League birth by season’s end.

Like wine, he’s got better with age, and will look to be a mainstay in Jogi Low’s setup as they make preparations for Russia 2018.

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