Jersey Swap: Mario Gavranovic
The Dinamo Zagreb forward was Switzerland’s standout player tonight, scoring two brilliantly taken goals. His first was a well-taken looping header above Manuel Neuer’s head, while his second was a piledriver that no keeper in the world would have saved. Not only that, but he was also at the helm of Switzerland’s heavy forward press, which gave Germany’s defenders a hard time. If only Germany had some good ball-playing center backs who could outplay that press...cough Boateng cough.
Der Bombers: Serge Gnabry & Timo Werner
The two were on fire tonight, with two goals and an assist between them. Werner scored the first goal that made sure Germany were not out of the game, and assisted Gnabry with a mazy run. He did fluff a few chances, though, which keeps him from being the all-out best attacker. Gnabry, meanwhile, started the game slowly, but grew into it and started causing all sorts of problems for the Swiss defense. His pressing was pretty decent (guess he learned it playing under Hansi Flick), and his runs weren’t half bad. The crowning jewel was when he backheeled Werner’s cross past Yann Sommer into the bottom corner for yet another goal in Die Mannschaft colors. He’s grown into a constant threat for both club and country, which can only be good.
Der Fußballgott: Leon Goretzka
Germany’s midfield press wasn’t at its worst tonight, and Goretzka was at the heart of it. He was constantly running back and forth, making sure that he was near every wayward pass from both friend or foe. He was also easily Germany’s most physical presence in midfield, bodily shoving Swiss midfielders off the ball left and right. I believe the game was not even twenty minutes old when Goretzka’s pearly white jersey was smudged and stained with grass and soil. That just goes to show how much he was working from minute one, and he didn’t stop until the final whistle. His stamina has become very impressive, those workouts must really be, well, working out.
Der Kaiser: Manuel Neuer
Tonight wasn’t Neuer’s best night by any means. He maybe could have done a better job for Switzerland’s second goal, and he still let in two more. That said, he was Germany’s most commanding defender, having to bail out his teammates on multiple occasions. Without Europe’s best goalkeeper, Germany would most certainly have succumbed to their first defeat in a year. His passing and sweeping was on point, and he put forward more accurate balls than any other player in his defensive line. It’s games like these that show how important a player like Neuer is to the team. Hopefully next time, his defense doesn’t hang him out to dry.
Meister of the Match: Kai Havertz
The young midfielder was easily Germany’s best player of the night. Deployed out of position on the wing (yes, I know he can play there, but it’s not his best position), Havertz was active all game until his questionable substitution. He cut two Swiss passes that led to an assist for Werner’s goal, and his own equalizer. Not only did he record a goal and an assist, he also showed off some fancy footwork, especially some lovely dribbling that pleased the eyes of many. He showed why Chelsea had paid so much for him, and he also showed that he definitely has the talent to become a world-class player. Wherever his future lies in a few years, be it in London or elsewhere, it looks bright.
One-sentence ratings for the rest
- Klostermann: Didn’t offer much going forward. 5/10
- Rudiger: ‘Positioning’ is a word that is evidently not in his vocabulary. 3/10
- Ginter: Wasn’t as bad as Rudiger but wasn’t anything special.
- Gosens: Had a decent shot on goal but that was it. 4/10
- Kimmich: Gave the ball away a few times but fought hard to win it back. 6/10
- Kroos: Not too impressive on his 100th international cap. 5/10
- Halstenberg: Wasn’t a big improvement from Gosens. 4/10
- Can: Not bad defensively, not good going forward. 5/10
- Draxler: Runs were decent, passes were not. 5/10
- Coach: Second half plan was decent, but needs to sort out his defense. 5/10
- Whole Team: Slight improvement over the Ukraine game, but still needs a lot more. 5/10
- Werner 7/10, Gnabry 7/10, Goretzka 7/10, Neuer 6/10, Havertz 8/10