Masterful Goretzka evokes Ballack and Effenberg in downing Mexico
It would have done little to comfort Mexico's overrun and beleaguered defence during a shambolic opening to the 4-1 Confederations Cup semi-final defeat against Germany, but their tormentor-in-chief Leon Goretzka was probably just as stunned as they were.
The in-demand Schalke midfielder became the latest member of Germany's new and rapidly blooming generation to make a statement of intent at this tournament, after Julian Draxler's dazzling man-of-the-match display in the 3-2 win over Australia and Timo Werner's match-sealing brace that downed Cameroon.
The 22-year, who has been heavily linked with a move to Bayern Munich and is also reportedly attracting admiring glances from Arsenal, was similarly on the scoresheet against the Socceroos to cap an accomplished showing, but told reporters not to expect consistently prolific returns.
"To perform at this level and to prove your mettle at this level takes more than one match. I'm certainly not the player who always scores two goals in a single match."
It should not take too many more performances of this nature for Goretzka to leave little doubt he is destined for stardom.
Additionally, the way he clinically scored twice within the space of two minutes suggested those in attendance in Sochi were not simple watching a willing midfielder chancing his arm around the box.
Both runs, first to retrieve a return ball from Benjamin Henrichs before streaming on to Timo Werner's pass from the right, were immaculately timed, the finishes first-time and unerringly precise.
On Germany's second in the eighth minute, there was more than a touch of Frank Lampard about Goretzka's work - picking his moment to arrive in the area perfectly, having located an area of weakness the defenders in front of him had little chance of covering. Once he arrived there was little doubt where the ball would end up.
Alongside his technical ability and instinctive feel for the game, Goretzka is a mightily impressive physical specimen. He is a midfielder equally at home striding effortlessly across the open turf - Mexico offered a perplexing amount of this - and recycling possession in the tight spaces, as he did in the build-up to Werner scoring Germany's third before the hour.
In a bid to see off the niggling injuries that hindered his early career, Goretzka changed his diet last year on the advice of a nutritionist, omitting gluten, cow's milk, pork and nuts. Mexico duo Hector Herrera and Oswaldo Alanis might have been considering tapping up their opponent up for some recipe plans after he knocked the ball past them and stormed in between them to win a free-kick early in the second half.
For all Germany's excellent players over the past decade, they have not located a truly domineering central midfielder in the mould of Michael Ballack or Stefan Effenberg. Goretzka could continue the lineage.
Joachim Low, who revealed he offered advice to Goretzka before the tournament as he mulls his next move at club level, certainly has all the right ingredients to concoct a successful World Cup defence and the consistently impressive performances of this experimental squad means there will be plenty of head-scratching before he whittles down his final 23 for Russia 2018.
Goretzka, meanwhile, is ensuring his stock rises by the match as potential suitors examine his every move. He and Low have some very nice problems ahead of them.