It is sometimes surprising that Kevin Volland hasn’t played enough for the German national team. The Bayer Leverkusen man has showed, time and time again, that he is one of the best attacking players in the country.
The 27-year-old has performed consistently in the last few seasons. But he hasn’t played for the German national side in over three years now. His last appearance for his country came in November 2016 in a game that ended 0-0 against Italy.
In total, Volland has featured only ten times for the Die Mannschaft, scoring once and assisting once under Joachim Loew. It doesn’t paint a promising picture but the realities of the situation lie elsewhere.
Volland joined Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2016. Selling club Hoffenheim had sold on another attacking player, a season after selling Roberto Firmino to Liverpool in the summer of 2015. For Volland, Hoffenheim were getting a reasonable fee of €20 million (via Transfermarkt).
In his last season at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena, Volland had played 33 games in the Bundesliga for the club. He found the back of the net eight times, racking up a tally of ten assists as well.
In total, Volland had become a very important player for the club during his stay. He had played as many as 144 times in all competitions. He had a direct hand in as many as 75 goals– a considerable number for any player at any club.
For how much Hoffenheim were getting for Volland, it was a bargain on paper for Die Werkself. But the versatile frontman was going to play Champions League football and mingle among the bigger boys of German football.
In his first season at the BayArena, Volland played a variety of positions under Roger Schmidt. He played 23 league games in total, scoring six times and assisting two times. He had one Champions League goal to his name, but he had mixed with the big boys with Tottenham and Atletico Madrid.
But that was a period of settling into the club. Following that campaign, Volland has improved. He has become more decisive in the final third, as evident from his final product.
In the 2017-18 campaign, the German played 35 times in all competitions for Bayer. His overall goals contribution stood at 18. Last season was even better. He was involved in 31 goals in all competitions, playing 42 games. That is just a reflection of how the man has improved since his first campaign in Leverkusen.
His Leverkusen teammate Leon Bailey once heaped praise on him for his consistency and ability. He told Bundesliga.com:
“There’s a lot more to come from him. He works so hard for the team. He’s such a great player for the team in the forward line. He pushes other players to do more. For him to get two goals- he has the confidence to do more and more.”
Having said that, his status in the German national team don’t do justice. But one look at the competition in that side will tell why.
For the striker position, he has to deal with competition from the mercurial Timo Werner. The Leipzig man has been involved in 110 goals in 131 appearances in all competitions for Leipzig- a bigger number than Volland’s tally.
There is the presence of younger players like Serge Gnabry, Kai Havertz and Leroy Sane- all of whom are younger than Volland. The nation is undergoing this transition which has already seen the likes of Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Thomas Muller get exterminated. That is a sign that German football is heading towards another ‘Das Reboot’.
A player like Volland has been gobbled up by this transition. On paper, he should be selected more often than he is. But the direction in which the country’s football is heading doesn’t favour his profile.
As much as it is sad to see, Volland will forever go down as a player who so good that he just didn’t make it because of issues that he can’t be blamed for. And at 27, he can still get a bigger move in the future. That should be his goal.