Unsung Gomez grabs fifth hat-trick of season

Unsung and opportunist, Mario Gomez is never in the running when the World Player of the Year award comes around, yet the Bayern Munich striker proved again on Tuesday that he is one of football's deadliest.

Four days after scoring a hat-trick in a 7-1 Bundesliga win over Hoffenheim, Gomez notched his second four-goal haul of the season in Bayern's 7-0 Champions League demolition of FC Basel in their last 16 second leg match.

He has also scored three other hat-tricks, one of them in the Champions League against Napoli, and his tally in Europe's premier club competition this season is now only two short of Lionel Messi's haul of 12 for Barcelona.

He has scored 35 goals in all competitions this term, including 21 in the Bundesliga.

Unlike Messi or Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, there is nothing remotely spectacular about most of Gomez' goals. Two of Tuesday's efforts were tapped into an open goal and the other two, although well-taken, came when he found himself unmarked.

But when Bayern's wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben are in full cry, Gomez is deadly

"The weekend match was very, very important for us," he said after Bayern's 7-1 aggregate win. "We carried on where we left off on Saturday. It was an outstanding match for us.

"But we have set ourselves ambitious targets and we haven't reached them yet."

Tuesday's performance was typical of Gomez.


For his first strike, one minute before half-time, he had the simple job of knocking the ball into an unguarded net after Holger Badstuber escaped the Basel defence and sent a pass across the face of the goal.

Gomez's second effort shortly after the break was his best as he acrobatically volleyed home Ribery's cross, although some Basel marking would have made his job more difficult.

He headed in a Ribery cross to notch his third, with goalkeeper Yann Sommer beaten and not a defender in sight, and got his fourth when he fired home from close range, again unmarked, after Ribery did the groundwork once more.

Gomez had struggled to get into his stride in his first season after joining Bayern from VfB Stuttgart.

But he sprang to life last season, scoring 39 goals in all competitions, including six hat-tricks, and this season looks set to better that total.

"I'm very happy for him because I have seen games where he has been substituted and the crowd have jeered him," said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes.

"The fact that he scores goals is a reflection that the team is playing well.

"A striker needs security and confidence and he gets that from the team."