Bierhoff: Goalless Gomez needs time

BERLIN - Germany striker Mario Gomez needs time and patience to overcome a 13-match international goal drought that has gripped the country, team manager Oliver Bierhoff said on Monday. "He has a great career in front of him. He is young. We have to give him time," Bierhoff told reporters as media speculated whether Wednesday's 2010 World Cup qualifier against Wales would be his last as a starting striker for some time. VfB Stuttgart's Gomez, 23, has failed to score for Germany in more than a year and missed several chances against Liechtenstein in Germany's 4-0 win on Saturday. His goalless streak has been front page news across Germany for days. Quoting former basketball great Michael Jordan, who said he missed more than 9,000 shots and lost 300 matches in his illustrious career, Bierhoff said Gomez would come good. "Hopefully this quote is something that Mario will appreciate," Bierhoff said. "This is part of every striker's career. You cannot talk about a sporting crisis as he has continued to score for his club," he said. Gomez has scored six times for Germany in 22 matches but none since netting against Switzerland in March last year. "This is purely a mental issue. For strikers this is always the case. That's part of a career," said Bierhoff, himself a former Germany striker who scored their winning goal in Germany's Euro 1996 victory. Gomez is expected to start against Wales as Germany seek to maintain their lead at the top of Group 4 with 13 points from five matches, four points ahead of Russia who have a game in hand.