Moscow: For a long time now, football fans haven't seen Andre Schuerrle with a happy face. After several months of poor performances not many expected the 25-year-old German forward to smile again.
Now the evening in Moscow with him scoring two goals to give his team VfL Wolfsburg a 2-0 win against ZSKA Moscow on Wednesday could well mark a return to happiness, reports Xinhua.
After his goals, not only is Schuerrle happy but his club too. The Germans have won nine points in the Champions League Group B and have a good chance to progress to the next round.
His goals additionally serve up a special duel against Manchester United for the top spot at home on December 8. After the victory here, Wolfsburg have already qualified for the Europa League but at least one point against Manchester could mean a last 16 place for the Germans.
Schuerrle's two goals were as much a surprise as Wolfsburg's win. So far coach Dieter Hecking's team has not managed to win away (1-2 in Manchester/0-2 in Eindhoven) in the Champions League. And even in Bundesliga, Wolfsburg regularly come away empty handed on their travels.
Schuerrle was part of the dilemma. He seemed to have lost all his abilities or miles away from his form last year. In 2014, he was one of Germany's World Cup heroes. He was the man who provided the pass for Mario Goetze to score the only goal in the 1-0 win against Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final.
Schuerrle, a specialist for fast attacks down the left flank, joined Wolfsburg in February from Chelsea. With his signing came high expectations he could not fulfil. His market value declined, until last weekend when two of his assists led to a 6-0 victory over Werder Bremen. Now follow the Moscow goals.
Schuerrle, after his transfer, was far from a special figure in Wolfsburg. After only a few weeks he lost his place among the starting 11 and was on the bench most of the time. To be sent on as a substitute for the last minutes seemed to be all he could hope for.
For weeks, Schuerrle heard the same message -- you're not doing enough. A week ago, Wolfsburg CEO Klaus Allofs expressed his disappointment by saying, "We expect more from him, he does not reach his limits. He has to improve right now. He is not only part of the team, but a player of whom we expect to be one of the leaders."
Wolfsburg's new team had problems after Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City) and Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan) left. Max Kruse and Julian Draxler could not close the gap together with Schuerrle. In their case, not only Wolfsburg was disappointed but Germany head coach Joachim Loew too.
Schuerrle, Kruse and Draxler have a realistic chance of being selected for Loew's squad for 2016 Euro in France. So far all three seemed to be far away from being named for the squad. Lately Kruse has improved and now Schuerrle seems to be following.
"I have been through hard times but I didn't lose the confidence in myself and what I can do for the team. It was a great evening for me in Moscow as it was for all of our team. I'm happy that I could support the team with two goals. But I know I have to continue with good performances," said Schuerrle.
"After all I want to be part of the German team in France and make Wolfsburg happy.