EXCLUSIVE: The Germany Under-21 international models his game on Bastian Schweinsteiger but he is in awe of the PSG striker
By Christoph Kockeis
Rising Mainz star Johannes Geis claims he is inspired by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, revealing that the Swede’s autobiography is his favourite book.
The Germany Under-21 international is a defensive midfielder by trade and sees Bayern Munich and Germany ace Bastian Schweinsteiger as his role model.
However, Geis explained that while he does not model his game on Ibrahimovic, he has been influenced by the way in which the Paris Saint-Germain striker overcame a difficult upbringing in a rough area of Malmo to establish himself as a global superstar.
“Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s autobiography is my favourite book,” Geis told Goal. “It helped me. He had a lot to deal with as a kid and stormed on to the big stage.
“But my idol is Bastian Schweinsteiger. He dragged the Germany team along at the World Cup last year. His presence alone made him a World Cup winner.
“I don’t understand the criticism he gets. For me, speed is not decisive in this position. You need good vision, calmness and a lot that makes you pass the balls precisely. He has all that.”
With former Mainz boss Thomas Tuchel having been appointed as Borussia Dortmund’s new coach, speculation is rife that the 41-year-old will promptly sanction a move for Geis.
However, the youngster is playing down talk of an imminent switch to Signal Iduna Park – despite his close relationship with Tuchel.
“I can only say one thing,” Geis added. “Nothing is signed and I have no agreement with a club.
“It is all about getting new stimulation, aiming for the highest goals and developing further – and I want to keep developing. Otherwise, I would be in the wrong sport!
“But the fact is that I have two more years left on my contract. I am happy in Mainz and people there have full confidence in me, so I am not in a hurry.
“I sense the interest, but I don’t let myself get carried away by it. My agent keeps this away from me.
“But everybody knows that we get along well. I came to Mainz as a young player who had to develop from Greuther Furth.
“I was lucky I could convince Tuchel of my worth right away. He talked a lot to me and taught me much.
“I am happy he is back in the game. A coach like him belongs to the Bundesliga and belongs to a top club like Borussia Dortmund.”