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Northern Ireland 0-2 Germany: Initial reactions and observations

Julian Brandt starts today against Northern Ireland. Löw has abandoned the back-three for a back-four, but Bayern’s Joshua Kimmich remains in the central midfield.

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Germany v Netherlands - UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images

Full time: Northern Ireland 2-0 Germany. Don’t let the scoreline fool you, the German survived yet another tepid performance. Here are some initial reactions:

  • Marco Reus had a poor performance once again. For a player that is supposed to be a leader in this German team full of youngsters, he doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.
  • What is the point of Toni Kroos? The Irish pressing game disrupted the Real Madrid man, leaving Joshua Kimmich basically alone in midfield (again).
  • Jonathan Tah had a decent outing, a huge improvement over his last game.
  • Germany’s midfield still lacks a ball-carrier. Leon Goretzka is sorely missed.
  • Julian Brandt should NOT start ahead of Kai Havertz.
  • Why does Jogi Low insist on playing Timo Werner out wide? He is wasting an excellent second striker for no reason. Then again, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised — he did the same with Thomas Muller.

Update: We’re a bit short-handed today, so there won’t be any live blog. But if you want live updates, take a look at the comments section!

Starting lineup

The lineup has just been released: Julian Brandt will join Germany’s offense, as Löw shifts the formation from a 5-2-3 to a 4-3-3. Bayern’s Joshua Kimmich remains the key defensive midfielder behind Toni Kroos, while Leipzig’s outside-backs Lukas Klostermann and Marcel Halstenberg play alongside Matthias Ginter and Niklas Süle. Brandt will apparently play in an advanced role as an 8 behind Marco Reus, Timo Werner, and Serge Gnabry.

It’s not often that you see Germany with their backs up against the wall, but that’s exactly the situation that faces Jogi Low and his boys today. Up against Northern Ireland, die Mannschaft have their work cut out proving that the disaster against the Netherlands a few days ago is going to be a thing of the past.

Unfortunately, however, the coach will be missing some key players from his squad. Nico Schulz and Ilkay Gundogan both suffered injuries in the last few days and have been ruled out for the game, and Leon Goretzka had to pull out of international duty with a thigh injury. That leaves Germany dangerously thin in midfield, so it is expected that Kai Havertz will be given an outing at CAM.

Aside from that, most of the players that played against the Netherlands are expected to reprise their roles — Toni Kroos, Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Sule, Serge Gnabry, and Manuel Neuer will all feature. Hopefully, things go better than they did last time.

Match Info

Location: Windsor Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Time: 7:45 pm local time, 2:45 pm EST

TV/streaming:, Find Your Country

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