Mark Uth could become the anniversary debutant of the Löw era. The appointment of the striker who is still goalless on Schalke has surprised some. But there are good reasons for the nomination.
Up there in Friesland, they know their way around goal scorers. In Heerenveen, where football goals are among the highest in the country, the great Ruud van Nistelrooy has scored his goals. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has become a hunter here, Bas Dost has developed his goal instinct. And Marco van Basten trained the SC Heerenveen.
In Friesland, no one is surprised why Joachim Löw called Schalker Mark Uth to play in the Netherlands. At SC Heerenveen, Uth scored 15 goals in one season four years ago and five in the Europa League. Mark Uth’s reputation in the honorary division is probably better than in Germany.
The 27-year-old was mocked as the „zero goal scorer“ after Löw’s nomination became known the week before. Uth has played ten compulsory games for Schalke 04 so far after his move from Hoffenheim. You can guess how often he scored. But: FC Schalke, under the defensive specialist Domenico Tedesco, naturally has a harder time scoring goals than anywhere else.
„His performances from previous years have made him a perfectly rightful member of the national team,“ says Löw assistant Marcus Sorg, unimpressed by the numbers.
In fact, there are statistics that speak for the nomination of Mark Uth. In Hoffenheim, Uth scored 29 times in 78 games and was temporarily the best German striker in the league. A Uth in the form of the previous season (14 goals in 31 league games) can use the recently weak German offensive well.
The fact that Uth can now make his DFB debut against the Netherlands, of all countries, naturally has a special note to its past. A past that hasn’t run as smoothly as an ambitious professional footballer would normally wish. But that led him to his goal at the age of 27.
Uth used to be one of the most promising young offensive forces in the country. In the U19 he hit for the 1st FC Cologne as he wanted. Only one other player was more successful: Pierre-Michel Lasogga from Leverkusen. Both careers went a little uneven afterwards. Lasogga got to know the ups and downs of a striker’s life at Hamburger SV. Uth first played for 1 FC Cologne, where he had signed with great ambitions and then had to follow the relegation of his home club from the substitutes‘ bench.
A new start in the neighbouring country, but also at SC Heerenveen, he had to deal with the reserve bench he was already familiar with. Van Basten was his coach, a legendary striker, no one knows better how to score goals, but as a coach, he had far less intuition. Uth also had the Icelander Alfred Finnbogason in front of him, today’s Augsburg player could do what he wanted in Uth’s first season at SC: He scored the goal. There were 39 fabulous goals of the season at the end, nobody could beat such a number, especially not a young German in the Netherlands who had so far had little professional experience.
Uth was lent to Heracles Almelo and Jan de Jonge, the coach of Heracles Almelo, knew him because he had previously coached the youngsters in Heerenveen. Suddenly the coach and the player were in tune, and Uth scored his goals. Heerenveen brought him back, then suddenly he was also interesting for the Bundesliga again.
„I often had problems at the beginning when I was new somewhere,“ Uth looked back on his career in his Hoffenheim time in a club interview, in the end he mostly prevailed. That should provide some reassurance in Gelsenkirchen, but it should also dampen expectations for his DFB premiere. Play Fortuna offers a good range of options for playing to all their players.
Uth is a late starter. „Today, many 17- and 18-year-olds are already regular players in the Bundesliga. But when I was 17 or 18, I was still playing on ash pitches,“ he says. In a business that is focusing more and more on younger players and in which success is best achieved immediately, this is not necessarily conducive.
But it can also be advantageous to take your time: Uth becomes the probably 100th debutant of the Löw era in his advanced professional age. So he is sure of his place in the statistics even if it doesn’t become anything at first with his regular place in the squad. It could be worthwhile to have patience with him. Mark Uth has proven that he has time.