It was easy to see that the game meant more to Austria
Austria, to its credit, played with a fire and passion that just was not matched by Germany today. That is not all that surprising, given that Die Mannschaft’s focus is on larger-scale prizes than a victory in this game, but as defending world champions, the Germans are going to get every opponent’s best, most aggressive effort. The intensity of the match, more than the result, should be the primary take-away from the contest for Joachim Löw and his squad.
In addition, as Austria felt more in control of the game, Bayern Munich’s David Alaba imposed his will on Germany by putting constant pressure and his physical presence on the shaky Germany defenders. You could easily see that Alaba played with a tremendous amount of pride and confidence throughout the contest.
All the German defense was missing was “Yakety Sax” in the background
You remember “Yakety Sax,” right? The loony, Benny Hill music where characters from that nutty show would be in some sort of chase scene doing silly things? Well, welcome to the Die Mannschaft defensive unit! This was clearly not a game film that will appear on a highlight reel for Niklas Süle, Antonio Rüdiger, Joshua Kimmich, or Jonas Hector.
The quartet looked silly at times with lazy passes, baffling decisions, and failed challenges. It was EXTREMELY disappointing to see that type of effort knowing that at least half of that foursome is expected to be in the starting XI for the World Cup.
Manuel Neuer was pretty darn good
The man had been on the shelf for eight months and had very few missteps during the game. Each Austria goal was just a dynamic effort where Neuer had no chance. It was thoroughly encouraging to see him move so well after such a long layoff.
Despite all of that, there is no reason to panic...at least for the players sticking around
Löw took some chances with his lineup and allowed some players on the bubble to get more time to prove themselves. Missing the likes of Thomas Müller, Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos, and Jerome Boateng would have ill effects on any squad; not to mention the fact that keeping Timo Werner and Marco Reus holstered on the bench for most of the game took away some of the team’s best weapons. Aside of Mesut Özil’s advantageous goal, Germany lacked consistency, quality decision-making, and an overall lack of crisp play offensively.
Sandro Wagner looks vindicated now, as well. Nils Petersen and Mario Gomez were pretty invisible and turned in perhaps the least impactful performances of anyone. Given that both needed to have a strong a showing, this doesn’t bode well for the depth behind Timo Werner in Russia.
You could really argue none of the “bubble” players did anything to warrant further consideration. Julian Brandt could have cemented a spot for himself, but now his future is up in the air because of his lack of finishing his opportunities. Leroy Sané will almost assuredly make it, but for every electric burst, he followed with a questionable decision.
When push comes to shove, I think Löw will be letting go of Kevin Trapp, Jonathan Tah, Brandt, and Nils Petersen.