As the news broke earlier today regarding the latest call-ups to the German national squad, one name that could not be seen was that of Bayern Munich’s Leon Goretzka. A player who has become a regular feature for Hansi Flick and many managers before him, Goretzka has managed to rack up a total of 53 appearances for his national side.
However, what should be the biggest story of all is that the man who has replaced him has potentially missed out on eight years of quality service for the German national team. Someone who has been a consistent performer in the Bundesliga and Premier League for just short of a decade. That man is Pascal Groß.
After a successful five-year spell with Ingolstadt, Groß made the move to the English shores when he joined newly promoted Brighton in 2017. Since then, he has gone on to build up quite a reputation as one of the most consistently creative players in the Premier League.
This has seen Brighton smash through the glass ceiling that many teams currently continue to pick away at while the more established sides continue to set them back. However, while Brighton continue to lose their so-called ‘best players’ every season, Groß has been an ever-present as they defied the odds to qualify for European football for the first time in the club’s history last season.
So, this begs the question, why has it taken this long for Groß to be recognised on the international stage? During Groß’s final season in Germany – a year in which his Ingolstadt were relegated from the Bundesliga – the then 25-year-old created more goal-scoring chances than any other player in the league.
As the footballing world has come to know now with Brighton, their recruitment does not tend to underwhelm and Groß was no exception. Perhaps the finest purchase of all – at a cost of just €3m – the inventive midfielder became an instant hit at the Amex stadium.
A return of seven goals and eight assists saw the German receive the club’s Player of the Season award as they held on to their top-flight status with a 1-0 win at home to Manchester United during their first season in the Premier League. The winner would come from none other than the man of the hour; Pascal Groß.
While he would fail to better his seven-goal haul until last season – where he would return ten goals in all competitions – every year Groß has continued to be the creative fulcrum in Brighton’s mesmerising system. Last season, only Bruno Fernandes, Kieran Trippier and Kevin De Bruyne would create more chances than the 32-year-old.
While this season, he has shown no sign of slowing down. With 14 chances created, no other player can boast a better return, while a goal against West Ham on Saturday would see him break Glenn Murray’s record and become Brighton’s all-time leading goalscorer in the Premier League.
If you ask Brighton fans, Groß should have been given his flowers seven long years ago. If you ask Ingolstadt fans, they will say that it is eight years too late while he was dazzling in a side that looked far off the pace. However, at the age of 32, Pascal Groß has broken his own glass ceiling and he will finally represent his country on the international stage.
GGFN | Will Shopland