Gomez: Strikers like me are essential
Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez believes a target man like him will always be needed in the game.
Gomez, 27, has not had the best of seasons after ankle surgery just days before the start of the current campaign ensured he would be out of action for several months. The Germany international has featured in just 14 Bundesliga games since recovering, while only making five starts for Bayern.
Despite hitting seven goals in that time, Gomez has still had to face criticism for his playing style - something he feels is unjust.
Currently with the German national team preparing for their back-to-back World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan, the squad's only centre-forward could miss out on a starting berth, making way for a 'false nine'.
"That's the way of the world. We know we have this discussion," Gomez told tz Munich. "Barcelona have led the way. But it is not true Barcelona are playing without a centre-forward. Messi is a brutal centre-forward. Not a "false" but a real No. 9 and at the same time a playmaker. Every team needs a target man.
"Barca's system would not work without Messi's goals. And just like that we have lot of similar players in the national team - Mario Gotze, Marco Reus or Mesut Ozil. All small and bubbly players, who score their goals, but not 70 in one season. It is about only having a few chances in those top games. You need a striker with the sheer will to score a goal."
Gomez says these attributes were what made him a quality striker and gave the example of his recent goal against Bayer Leverkusen.
"On an average day Germany will always beat Kazakhstan - if you have a killer or not," he said. "But just look at our game in Leverkusen - how many chances did we have during the first half? One, two? If you played someone who is not fully concentrating in front of the goal as he has other qualities, it will get difficult. I am a goal-getter."
Gomez has recently been linked with a move away from Bayern, with some believing he will find it too tough getting into the team when Pep Guardiola takes over in the summer. The striker, though, insists he is not fazed by the talk.
"I have learned that a lot is written about Bayern. There will always be speculation," he said. "From the day I joined Bayern, there has always been speculation if a new striker was to join us. I am relaxed. I will give it my all until the end of the season, we can achieve a lot. It will be May then and we will see what happens."