There’s a 20-year age different between Claudio Pizarro and Johannes Eggestein. One brings experience and has an unparalleled eye for goal, whilst the other has started to cement himself in the Werder first team in his third year as a professional. Pizarro believes that Eggestein is “an ice-cold striker.”
The two couldn’t really be more different on the surface. On one side you have Claudio Pizarro; a professional footballer for 22 years, Champions League-winner, six-time Bundesliga champion, DFB-Pokal-winner and Werder’s record-goalscorer. On the other side, you have “Jojo” Eggestein. He’s 20 years old, and has begun his career with one Bundesliga goal in 12 appearances.
However, the pair also have some things in common. They’re both in good form and seem to link-up well on the pitch, as recent evidence suggests. Both strikers came off the bench against Wolfsburg earlier this season and Pizarro played Eggestein through for his first Bundesliga goal. Last weekend in Mainz, Jojo returned the favour. Eggestein played the ball into the area where Pizarro was waiting to tap home.
Following their strong performances off the bench, the question is now whether the duo will start together anytime soon. Head coach Florian Kohfeldt gave his opinion on the matter: “Jojo is very close to starting, but he has been for a few weeks. He’s started to take his chances and earn his place in the squad. Piza always has an effect when he’s on the pitch, whether that’s on the opponent, the fans, or even his own team.” The chance that the two strikers will start together is “just as high as everyone else in the squad,” said Kohfeldt, obviously holding his cards very close to his chest.
The Werder boss is happy to see the two playing well together, though: “Both are very intelligent on the pitch and you can see that by how they play. I’m very glad to see them playing together.” Their chemistry on the pitch has also caught the eye of defender Niklas Moisander: “Both are playing really well at the moment. They’re in good form and you can see that they’re playing well together.” Claudio Pizarro has a similar view on the situation: “I think we’re the boss’ favourite super-subs at the moment.” He also had some kind words about his partner in attack: “He’s very strong in front of goal and makes good decisions. You have to be ready to take your chances and Jojo is exactly that – he understands. He trains well and when he comes on, he scores. He can be the difference.”
Claudio Pizarro and Johannes Eggestein are proof that, when it comes to understanding each other on the pitch, age doesn’t come into the question. For Jojo especially, the age difference is often very helpful in pressure situations: “Piza helps us all and you feel better after chatting to him. He exudes a sense of calm and strength. Following his example is a reason why I get into so many dangerous situations.”
Pizarro and Eggestein, perhaps Werder’s most promising pairing at the moment, are back in action against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday (15:30 CET).