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Daily Schmankerl: The aftermath of Germany’s 2-0 victory over Northern Ireland; Transfer speculation over Kai Havertz elicits weary smile; Sebastian Rudy wants to stay with Hoffenheim; and MORE!

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Back to the Bundesliga!

Northern Ireland v Germany -EURO Qualifier Photo by Erwin Spek/Soccrates/Getty Images

Die Folgen: Die Mannschaft survives the Green and White Army (Bavarian Football Works)

It was not pretty — hell, it was downright ugly at times — but Germany did enough to hand Northern Ireland its first loss in group play. Here are some quick hitters on the match:

  • There were times where Germany look as disjointed and sloppy as they have in a very long time. There were errant passes, poor decisions, mistimed runs, missed runners, and just overall careless play at times. In the end, though, Die Mannschaft started to put things together and applied major pressure to Northern Ireland, which ultimately paid off in the form of two goals.
  • The two, non-handball calls were interesting. I think you could have easily justified calling a handball on both, though Julian Brandt’s attempt was far less egregious than Timo Werner’s shot. On another day, maybe one or both get called as it’s tough to know exactly what constitutes a handball any more.
  • Marcel Halstenberg’s half-volley was an absolute beauty. In truth, if Kimmich is going to play a central midfield role, you could do a lot worse than Halstenberg and Lukas Klostermann as an outside-back tandem.
  • Serge Gnabry is scorching hot for the national team.
  • Toni Kroos is normally Mr. Consistency, but he had some off moments over the course of these two games. If Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels, and Jerome Boateng are not quality enough to include on a roster any longer, then Joachim Löw might want to at least consider a starting XI that does not include Kroos just to see what that yields. This is not to say Kroos is done or that he should be cut, but he’s also not above being taken out of the lineup either.
  • I don’t think Löw knows how to solve what is ailing Germany. I’m not sure anyone does, but Löw’s message is not sinking in and Germany just often looks like a veteran boxer who has lost his knockout power. They can still throw with some force, but connecting and defending are far more of a challenge.
  • Give Northern Ireland credit, that team was fearless and ready to play. They didn’t appear to have any concern that they were playing Germany. I think that says a lot about the state of Die Mannschaft.

If you missed our Match Awards or Observations, give them a look:

Goretzka had some fun with Havertz picking up Gnabry (@leongoretzka_)

Bayern Munich’s Leon Goretzka was amused with Kai Havertz (FUTURE TEAMMATES?????) picking up Serge Gnabry yesterday:

Joshua Kimmich’s reaction here is pretty sweet as well.

Speculation over Havertz is already getting old for Rolfes (Manchester Evening News)

Bayer Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes has a LONG year ahead of him with addressing transfer rumors on Kai Havertz. When asked by Bild (as captured by the Manchester Evening News) about the rumors linking Havertz to Manchester City, Rolfes issued a telling statement:

I am not interested in that. It only elicits a weary smile from me.

Rolfes and Leverkusen managing director Rudi Völler are going to be extremely worn down by June. Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Juventus are all said to be highly intrigued by the 20-year-old star.

Rudy wants to stay with TSG 1899 (kicker)

Former Bayern Munich midfielder Sebastian Rudy is on loan with Hoffenheim this season, but does not appear to even be considering a return to Schalke 04:

I definitely want to stay longer and can well imagine finishing my career at TSG.

Rudy wanted out of Gelsenkirchen so bad that he took a pay cut to go back to Hoffenheim.

Costa’s flirtation with United (Transfer Market Web)

Juventus winger and former Bayern Munich rotational piece Douglas Costa had a mild courtship with Manchester United, but was content to stay in Turin:

Turning 29 on September 14, Brazilian international winger Douglas Costa, according to what his agent, Giovanni Branchini, told Sportsmail, was heavily tracked by Manchester United, during last summer window: “They were strongly interested in him, they’ve actually been for a long time. They weren’t the only English club keen on Douglas, but they surely were the most forward. Juventus, however, never considered signing him away”. Playing for Bianconeri since 2017/18, former Bayern Munich man, a front-row item for new boss Maurizio Sarri, is currently on a deal with Serie A.