When you watch a footballer score a goal, you expect a certain level of choreography afterwards. It is perhaps considered that all players just know what to do, how to celebrate and where to run after finding the net. Lukas Klostermann is not such a player. The Germany left back showed great awareness to make a daring sprint in the ninth minute of the Men's Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016 semi-final against Nigeria, and get on the end of Max Meyer’s low cross to score the opener. It was his first goal at any level for the German national team, having made over 20 appearances across a number of youth sides. Then, he slowed himself down after his sprint, and did not really know what to do next.
The RB Leipzig defender - who has only scored twice at club level - was given a lesson in goal celebration by his team-mates, who joined the defender in the goalmouth and smothered him in jubilation. The goal set his team up for a historic 2-0 victory that ensured a Rio 2016 medal, bettering the performance of any German side at a Men's Olympic Football Tournament.
“Before the game it was our aim to go to the final and to have a medal,” Klostermann said. “But if you're in the situation we are in now you want to win, you want to have the gold medal and we will try everything to get it.”
Standing in the Germans’ way are Brazil. Led by captain Neymar, the side found their stride against Honduras in their own semi-final, beating Honduras 6-0 to stroll into the gold medal match. Not that most football fans will need reminding, but the game represents a re-match of the Mineirazo, the historic 7-1 FIFA World Cup™ semi-final victory by the Nationalmannschaft on their way to the 2014 Final at the Maracana, where Horst Hrubesch’s side will travel on Saturday for the Rio 2016 finale.
“It's a great feeling to test myself against players like Neymar,” Klostermann said. “The game will be a bonus, we'll try to enjoy it. I think the whole stadium will be against us. We'll try to give our best and if we have a good day, it's possible for us to win.”
Victory would see the German No3 follow in the footsteps of one of his idols. Although he tapped home his goal against Nigeria with his left foot, Klostermann is ostensibly right-footed, and usually plays at right back at club level. It is only natural then, that this ambidextrous full-back reveres the 2014 World Cup-winning captain.
“Of course I look up to Philipp Lahm,” Klostermann said. “He's one of the greatest players in Germany's history. I try to give my best, but also be individual and special in this position.”
While that note of distinctiveness attempts to separate this German side from their 2014 counterparts, it is clear that victory in the Maracana would see Klostermann and his team-mates compared for generations. Given the parallels, perhaps the No3 will watch back the 2014 semi-final ahead of Saturday, and take some notes on goal celebration.