Timo Werner, Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane, and Kai Havertz worked extremely well together
With the aforementioned quartet, pace was never going to be an issue, but what really stood out is how unselfish and attack-minded the grouping was throughout its time together on the pitch in the first half. It was impressive to not only see the barrage of runs into space, but also toward the net in a brave effort to create offense. It was almost as if Joachim Löw said, “Run free, attack, and don’t look back!” The foursome did just that. The other interesting part was how all four seemed to interchange between the front four positions. It was a bit seamless in that respect and excellent to see.
There was a noticeable drop off in energy in the second half
For as exciting as the beginning of the game was, the second half started extremely slow for Germany and did not pick up until Löw started to make substitutes. The team was no longer fluid or energetic, but a malaise and air of contentment seemed to take over. This has been a recurring trait for Low’s teams and offers a great reason for concern.
The substitutes provided a spark when the starters slowed down
When Julian Brandt, Thomas Muller, and Leon Goretzka entered the game, the squad became more dangerous and showed some life, but it was disappointing to see that yet another effort from a Löw team was incomplete. It would have been great to see any of the threesome listed above score, but after entering the game the trio helped put Russia back on its heels a bit. The visitors had a much better start to the second half, while Germany was stagnant.
Joshua Kimmich was solid
Manning a central, defensive midfield role, Kimmich was extremely solid on the day. He wasn’t asked to do much as Russia offered little with its attacking game, but when called upon Kimmich was his normal, steady self.
The tactics were…interesting
Löw went deep into his bag of tricks to wind up with a lineup heavy on young attackers and featuring six players who often occupy defensive roles for their respective clubs. There was absolutely a reason to doubt how things might play out, but this Russia squad was bad, Like, not even competitive for the most part.
If there was ever a game to take chances it was this one. A good team, however, would likely have been able to take big advantage of how far up the field the defenders pushed; particularly Matthias Ginter and Antonio Rüdiger. Germany was very susceptible to counterattacks and many other teams would have found a way to break through today. This is clearly an area that Löw will need to monitor.