The German national team is in appalling state. Three goals scored against Estonia (two on deflections) in Euro qualifiers on Sunday evening change nothing to that. Unless we see a paradigm shift, Germany faces a second consecutive disaster at Euro 2020.
One more experimental lineup
I understand the importance of trying new things in friendlies and perhaps even in some qualifier matches. However, Joachim Löw’s 4-3-3 (on paper) was one of the least inspired selections for a competitive match.
Emre Can as centre-back and Joshua Kimmich as left midfielder (left-back after Can’s red card) was dubious. Julian Brandt was poor as starter on the left wing and Marco Reus was largely invisible on the right flank.
The tactical scheme was… non-existent. Potentially versatile with lots of movement against a compact Estonian side, but largely flat-footed and unable to create anything against a team that defended stubbornly even with the man-advantage.
The biggest problem was a lack of creativity and energy. The Germans were generally slow, but painfully unaware of the space ahead to build up after regaining the ball in the first third of the pitch. Lack of speed gave the Estonians time to regroup and build a wall in their own half.
Ilkay Gündogan and Joshua Kimmich were the main creative forces, with the first from the middle and the second from the left. They delivered the most interesting passes in a boring setup.
Despite the above negativity, allow me to applaud Gündogan’s work in this qualifier above all. The goals he scored both came from deflections, but at least he showed initiative.
Questionable defensive choices
Emre Can as centre-back? The idea does not have any merit whatsoever. Before picking up a red card, he patrolled up and down the pitch, going up in the penalty area as if he were a striker. That put the defense at risk.
His selection as a CB confirms how Bundestrainer Löw makes questionable defensive choices when better players are available for selection all across Germany. Mats Hummels anyone?
Granted, Can’s red card was not fully deserved. When he made a challenge close to the penalty area, he touched the ball. His “lunge” to take the player down seemed foolish, but it was a yellow card in my view. Can paid the price for a referee’s zeal and the low position more than for the gesture itself.
The red card is not what truly matters, however. His playing style, up to the sending off, was unsuited to the centre-back position.
Die Mannschaft had too few brilliant moments since the World Cup disaster in Russia. Its defense has greatly struggled to put together 90 minutes of decent football.
An unstable selection, a new debate on who should start competitive matches in goal, the lack of a clear tactical scheme and the absence of offensive inspiration are obvious pain points. Moreover, this team cannot play well for 90 minutes. No one wins tournaments that way.
Löw seems not to know the solution to any of these problems. Yet, he mysteriously still enjoys the full backing of the federation, which leaves any critical observer baffled.
Brandt not star material
Julian who? Brandt is not superstar material in my book. Nor is he a German national team starter.
Every time I see this guy play, he makes the wrong decision at the wrong time. He crosses when he should try to dribble, shoot or make a more elaborate pass to a teammate. He shoots when there is no chance of scoring. Although he can start in the Bundesliga, Brandt does not have what it takes to fulfill his overrated potential.
Once again, better players have been kicked out of the team.
I fully disapprove of the white shorts. As if there were not enough problems already, breaking tradition is a bad idea.