Mandzukic - Croatia’s merciless hurricane
Germany may have 'Super Mario' Gomez but Croatia have their own 'Super Mario' in Mandzukic and yet while they have both impressed with their goalscoring at Uefa Euro 2012™ their Bundesliga careers couldn't be more contrasting.
Gomez, who like Mandzukic has scored three goals going into the final round of their respective group games, has scored goals at will and won trophies with Bayern Munich while the 26-year-old Croat scored roughly once in every three games he has played for VfL Wolfsburg since joining in 2010 for €8million.
However, 'the merciless hurricane', as he has been dubbed by the Croatian press has not impressed the noted taskmaster and disciplinarian Wolfsburg coach Felix Magath, who has made no secret of his desire that he wouldn't resist if a club came courting the striker.
If that does prove to be the case then both he and Mandzukic should be delighted as with his performances so far he will have raised the price and also made hmself a highly attractive target.
However, whereas Gomez is not renowned for much else other than his goalscoring Mandzukic gives his all where ever the action is, adapting to the neeeds of his team, like he did in the 1-1 draw against Italy.
For having scored their leveller, a neatly taken shot past Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, he selflessly then slotted into the right wing position and shored up the flank against Italian counter attacks.
"Mandzukic kept on coming back and defended brilliantly," coach Slaven Bilic said paying tribute to his work rate.
Mandzukic for his part was overjoyed at having scored agaisnt one of the sport's legends, the 2006 World Cup-winning Juventus star.
"Gianluigi Buffon is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, I dreamed of coming face to face with him, eyeball to eyeball, and to score a goal," he said.
Mandzukic, who has replaced Eduardo as first choice having been signed by Dinamo Zagreb in 2007 to replace the Brazilian-born marksman when he left for Arsenal, is not letting the success get to his head.
"I am not here for my own personal advancement, I want to play my part in the team winning," he said.
"I am always optimistic that we can do the same against Spain and go through to the quarterfinals."
He will be looking to maintain his scoring in every group game when he lines-up against defending champions Spain on Monday where a score draw of 2-2 or higher would suffice to see them go through - no matter if the Italians beat the pointless Irish.