SOCHI, Russia (AP) — The abuse has followed Timo Werner for months, gathering pace as rapidly as the striker has amassed goals.
No German player was more prolific in the Bundesliga last season. No player was as ostracized.
But Werner is now a full-blown Germany international, scoring his first goals at the Confederations Cup on Sunday, and he could hold the key to the World Cup defense next year.
That could require Germany supporters to forgive a player they jeered at during his first competitive game for Joachim Loew’s team earlier this month.
“Kobe Bryant has also been booed everywhere and he always been the best,” Werner reflected ahead of Germany’s Confederations Cup semifinal against Mexico on Thursday, seeing a kindred spirit in the basketball great. “I do not want to say that I am the best like him, but (the abuse) is a bit of an…