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Die Denkfabrik: Analyzing Germany’s thrilling 3-3 draw against Switzerland

Excellent offensively but atrocious defensively. Joachim Löw’s team remains fragile while showing glimpses of brilliance.

Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

Germany’s inconsistency continues with pressured coach Joachim Löw. After a dull, albeit a winning performance against Ukraine, Germany faced Switzerland in Köln. A win against arguably one of the best Swiss sides of all time would have given Löw some breathing space. Although the game at the RheinEnergieSTADION proved more of the same for this national team: solid offensively, chaotic defensively.

Team performance:

Much like the games against Turkey and Ukraine, Germany dominated possession and created many dangerous opportunities. This Switzerland team is by no means a bad side. The last time they let in three goals was in the UEFA Nations League semifinal against Portugal in June 2019. So offensively, it was a good game. It is also very encouraging that Marco Reus and Leroy Sane will improve the team in terms of depth and overall quality.

Defensively, it was chaotic and down-right horrendous. It felt dangerous every time the Swiss were on the counter and the amount of space the German back-four gave is extremely worrying. While the 4-3-3 allowed Germany to create more chances going forward, it exposed them in the back. Although Löw’s men improved in the second half, the first half should serve as a reminder of how vulnerable Germany can be against fast counter-attacking sides.

Individual performance:

While promising going forward, Robin Gosens is not suited for a four-man back-line. His lack of defensive astuteness consistently caused Germany defensive problems and it was no surprise that Löw substituted him off in the 58th minute. Antonio Rüdiger was at fault for two of the goals after horrendous marking. I have a feeling the reason why Löw played Rüdiger for 90 minutes, both against Ukraine and Switzerland, is due to his lack of playing time for Chelsea this season. While he may not be a starter in Euro 2021, he can do much better than what he did against Switzerland.

Germany’s midfield looked idealess and stagnant in the first half, although was able to dominate the game in the second. Toni Kroos and Kai Havertz were two players who grew into the game after having poor first halves. While Serge Gnabry has played a lot better, the offensive part of Germany’s game is good and will only get more edge as Marco Reus and Leroy Sane returns to fitness.

Future wishes:

In my last article, I wished for Jogi to use the same system for both of his games against Ukraine and Switzerland. The Euros are coming closer and I feel Germany needs a clear tactical set-up that they can perfect. Löw, in his post-match conference, disagreed and stated that a fluid system will be key for this young German national team.

While I agree that a different tactical set-up will be needed for France and Portugal, the constant switching of systems has given this team little stability. Whether it is a system with three or two center-backs, I believe this inconsistent German team can benefit from a stable tactical formation.

Nevertheless, offensively I was impressed by the dynamism displayed and I still think Löw’s team has the potential to reach the final this upcoming summer. I’d like to see more of the same from Germany’s second-half performance. It was a team that pressed high, dominated possession by continuously winning the ball in midfield, and as a result, created many chances. If Löw can fix the defense, this German team can produce the results when it truly matters.

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