Just 11 years after making his senior debut, André Schürrle has brought an end to his career. The German forward announced his retirement on Friday, hanging up his boots at the tender age of 29.
The premature decision is a sad one for a player who achieved some of the greatest feats in the game across the top leagues in Europe. While injuries – among other factors – have forced him into retirement, Schürrle has had a career full of highlights for club and country. Highlights like these.
Schürrle was an experienced player for Germany on the international stage by this point, about halfway through his international career. Despite having scored just once for his country in nearly a year and a half (against Ireland the previous weekend), Schürrle scored a stunning hat-trick in an emphatic 5-3 win in Stockholm.
It was his first treble for his country, and helped them wrap up qualification for the tournament in style. His second and final Germany hat-trick would come two years later, when he hit three in a 7-0 thrashing of Gibraltar in EURO 2016 qualifying.
Schürrle joined Chelsea from Bayer Leverkusen in 2013 and, five months after his first international hat-trick, he recorded his first treble in the Premier League. The Blues made the short trip across to Fulham in March 2014, travelling to Craven Cottage for the west London derby.
In a blistering second-half performance, Schürrle completed his hat-trick inside 16 devastating minutes. It gave José Mourinho’s side a 3-1 victory over their local rivals, the forward becoming the third German to score a Premier League hat-trick.
One of Chelsea’s greatest Premier League victories was the 6-0 demolition of Arsenal – and Schürrle was instrumental. The German assisted Samuel Eto’o’s opening goal, before scoring himself two minutes later to put the Blues in cruise control.
Chelsea added another four goals at Stamford Bridge, in one of their finest derby displays in the modern era. Schürrle had an outstanding game and earned his deserved recognition, being named man of the match.
Having been involved in one of the Blues’ most memorable wins, Schürrle played a part in one of the most famous World Cup games of all time just four months later when Germany reached final at the expense of hosts Brazil in Belo Horizonte.
Die Mannschaft were 5-0 up by the time Schürrle came off the bench, and he came on to add insult to injury. He scored twice in 10 minutes to wrap up the incredible scoreline, scoring a superb double to seal the historic 7-1 win in Brazil.
The greatest moment of Schürrle’s entire career came on 13 July 2014, in the World Cup final against Argentina. While he did not start at the Maracanã, the German came off the bench after half an hour for the injured Christoph Kramer, eventually playing a full 90 minutes.
It was a tense final in Rio de Janeiro, which went into extra time with neither side breaking the deadlock inside 90 minutes. With just seven minute left before a penalty shootout, Schürrle burst down the wing and crossed the ball into the box for Mario Götze to poke home and secure Germany’s first World Cup in 24 years.
Schürrle recorded seven assists in total for Die Mannschaft, but that was by far his most important one. Germany celebrated their fourth World Cup and historic first as a reunified team.
From Rio de Janeiro to, erm, Lancashire, Schürrle was back in domestic action just a month later. Chelsea went to Burnley on the opening day of the season, kicking off the campaign as overwhelming title favourites under Mourinho.
After early goals made it 1-1, Cesc Fàbregas’ stunning through ball was finished emphatically by Schürrle to put the Blues ahead. They went on to win 3-1 after Branislav Ivanovi? wrapped up the win to start a memorable campaign.
Schürrle left Chelsea in February 2015, leaving for his native Germany in the form of Wolfsburg. Chelsea went on to win the Premier League for the fourth time (their fifth league title) and, despite leaving three months earlier, the German received recognition for the part he played.
He had made 14 appearances, scoring three goals in the Blues’ title charge, exceeding the five games needed to collect a medal. It was a deserved achievement for Schürrle, but he did not even realise he would be acknowledged.
Speaking to the BBC back in 2015, he said: “I didn’t know that I’d get a medal when I didn’t play most of the second half of the season. Jose Mourinho sent me a text to say that I’d get a medal and he asked me to come to the last game. That was very nice for me. I’m really happy for the boys.”
Schürrle returned to west London and the Premier League in 2018, joining Fulham on loan from Borussia Dortmund. His seventh and final goal for the Cottagers came at Turf Moor, with another stunning strike against sorry Burnley.
He plucked the ball out of the sky with grace, before smashing his shot into the top corner. While Fulham went on to lose 2-1, the German won the goal of the month award for January 2019 thanks to his beautiful strike.
Schürrle brings an end to an illustrious career with countless memories, whether they are Premier League beauties or reaching the pinnacle of the beautiful game. It marks the end of an era, but André Schürrle’s career will be one looked back on fondly.
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