The 2-2 draw against the Netherlands was a bitterly disappointing result for Germany, but there were still some bright spots to take away. Joshua Kimmich has been a bright spot for both Germany and Bayern Munich for the past two seasons, and his unwavering devotion to the cause was on full display in the match against the Netherlands.
In the 14th minute, the Dutch won a free kick in a dangerous area just a few yards outside of Germany’s box. Niklas Sule, Mats Hummels, Antonio Rudiger, Serge Gnabry, and Thilo Kehrer lined up in the wall for Germany. And Kimmich? He dove onto the pitch just behind them right before the kick was taken.
It’s a technique that’s become increasingly popular against prolific free-kick takers like Memphis Depay to ensure that there’s ground-level coverage in case the entire wall jumps and the free-kick taker keeps it on the ground.
Per a report by AZ, Kimmich mimicked the Croatian Marcelo Brozović, who plays for Inter Milan in Serie A. Brozović performed the plank-like wall technique in Inter’s Champions League match against Barcelona back at the end of October. Slightly different to Kimmich, the Croatian slid right behind the wall with his back facing the kick taker just before Barcelona’s Luis Suarez pulled the trigger.
SPECTACULAR way from Brozovic to defend a free-kick!— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) October 24, 2018
Look how he slides behind the wall understanding Suárez intention pic.twitter.com/DIJ03KM4hE
Luckily for Germany (at the time), Depay’s free kick went straight into the wall, but Kimmich was willing to put his body on the line and should be commended. Heaven forbid that Germany end up looking like Werder Bremen, when Xabi Alonso fooled them with a low free kick.