Sunday’s headline event, the Netherlands versus Germany once again delivered high-voltage action, with Die Mannschaft narrowly edging out die Oranje at the Johan Cruijff Arena, Amsterdam, in a 3-2 thriller.
Goals from Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry put the visitors ahead before the Netherlands bit back thanks to Matthijs de Ligt and Memphis Depay. It was ultimately heartbreak for the side that have failed to qualify for the last two international tournaments as Nico Schulz bagged all three points for Germany, agonizingly for the hosts, as the game was approaching full-time.
Whilst Sane and Gnabry are widely known names, thanks to high-profile attachments to Manchester City and Arsenal, respectively, Nico Schulz certainly made more of a name for himself on the circuit with his latest display for country, taking the glory in dramatic fashion.
The Hoffenheim player was only granted his first-team debut in Joacim Low’s first-team set-up, at the age of 25-years-old, in September 2018 (after seeing out the preceding call-up against France from the bench). In that game against Peru, he announced himself with the winning goal at the PreZero Arena, playing the full 90 minutes at left-back.
Preceding that, Schulz had made just over a half century of appearances through the youth squads, beginning in 2008.
Starting at Hertha Berlin, he joined Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2015 - where he suffered a debilitating cruciate ligament injury shortly after and made less than 20 appearances across two seasons - before moving to Hoffenheim, under the tutlage of Julian Nagelsmann, in 2017.
Since then, the resurgence has been on, an inaugural season with die Kraichgauer ending extremely well. During Hoffenheim’s final 14 games, Schulz contributed a goal and four assists as his side won lost just two games and ended with a third place finish in the Bundesliga and qualifying for the Champions League in 2018/19.
Last season, and going some way again to mark his name at scoring at important times Schulz also scored in Hoffenheim's first ever European victory, a 3-1 UEFA Europa League victory over Turkish outfit Istanbul Basaksehir in October 2017, at home, with goals preceded by Benjamin Hübner and Nadiem Amiri.
Furthermore he bolstered his reputation as being one of the most rapid players in the league, registering a speed of 21.5 mph and recording a pass-completion rate of 77%, whilst developing more into the midfield.
Certainly in Low’s national operation, Schulz is deployed on the left-side of a midfield four, usually complementing Joshua Kimmich and Toni Kroos in the heart of the mid-line.
The Bundesliga official website reports that Liverpool has previously expressed interest in the versatile left-sider.
Schulz, who is currently contracted at Hoffenheim until 2021, himself has recently expressed that;
“I would like to play for a European top club one day. There are some extraordinary clubs that play in the Champions League every year.”
If his rise for club and country continues, the Reds are certain to not be the only ones turning their glances in his direction.