Nicolai Mueller has gone full Gramatica, in doing so putting extra pressure on American teammate Bobby Wood.
Muller scored the lone goal in Hamburg’s season-opening win over Augsburg, but his celebration recalled memories of an injury to former Arizona Cardinals kicker Bill Gramatica.
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Muller’s “helicopter” goal celebration, a staple for the midfielder, saw him tear his ACL upon landing near the corner flag. He’s set to miss seven months.
That means even more of the scoring burden will fall on Wood, whose nine goals last season led the team in its race to avoid relegation. Muller’s five goals were tied for second with Austrian forward Michael Gregoritsch.
Here’s the Hamburg hierarchy, from Bundesliga.com:
“The diagnosis comes as a huge shock to us, it’s a big blow at the start of the season and obviously is really tough on Nicolai,” said Hamburg sporting director Jens Todt. “We wish him all the best for his recovery and, of course, will support him as best we can.”
“It’s bad news,” added HSV head coach Markus Gisdol. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Muller has thrice scored eight or more Bundesliga goals, and is a huge loss for Hamburg. Though it’s tempting to chasten a player who’s hurt while celebrating a goal, there’s always a part of us that wants to point out that the ligament probably wasn’t in the finest shape if it earned a tear on such a non-explosive landing.