For the most part, a subdued atmosphere prevailed inside the Volkswagen Arena during Germany’s 1-1 friendly draw against Serbia. The performance from Die Mannschaft was nothing to write home about, as Joachim Low experimented with his squad. But even in a tuneup friendly ahead of a massive Euro 2020 qualifier, the players were disappointed not to see more vocal engagement from the home fans.
Speaking after the match via Sport1, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, and Ilkay Gundogan described the dull atmosphere. The trio agreed that their performance on the pitch didn’t do them any favors, as far as generating some noise from the home crowd, but still admitted that it does, in a way, affect the psyche of the squad. Gundogan, who wore the captain’s armband after Manuel Neuer was subbed off, said that the players in the squad have to be able to deal with the whistles from the fans when they’re not playing well:
We have to understand that the people want to see a show. If we don’t mange to do so, we get whistles. But we’re professionals and have to be able to deal with the situation. Even if it’s not easy.
Goretzka, who scored Germany’s goal, was also critical of the team’s performance, which warranted the whistles in his view. Goretzka felt Germany’s game lacked a certain “turbulence” that might inspire the crowd:
If we were to play turbulently, then the spectators would also go along.
Kimmich added that he was “surprised” by the chorus of boos the fans unleashed at halftime. He acknowledged, however, that “the people are slowly getting impatient,” because they “want to see wins.”
Germany’s last meaningful victory was its 2-1 triumph over the Sweden in the 2018 World Cup. Since then, it has won friendly matches over Peru (2-1) and Russia (3-0) but lost or drawn all four of its Nations League ties, leading to its relegation to League B.
Germany’s upcoming Euro 2020 qualifier against the Netherlands is away at the Amsterdam Arena. Their next qualifier after that is away at Belarus in June. Just three days after taking on Belarus, they’ll be back at home against Estonia. That match is set to take place at the Opel Arena in Mainz, another small venue like the Volkswagen Arena. Since the DFB has struggled to sell out international matches lately, they have resorted to utilizing smaller venues, especially if Germany is not playing against a top-tier opponent. Regardless of the venue, there’s no disguising the fact that the performances need to drastically improve from Die Mannschaft if they want the Germany fans to get behind them for the Euro 2020 qualifications.