Before Germany embark on their journey in the 2021 European Championships this summer, I thought it’d be a good idea to create a new series. The series will be like a Think Tank, or Denkfabrik in German, where I’ll write down my thoughts about squad performance, Jogi Löw’s position and predictions for the future. Starting off with the 3-3 game friendly against Turkey, Löw’s position is under scrutiny and it will be interesting to see how the team responds against Ukraine and Switzerland.
Overall, the performance against Turkey by the German ‘B-team’ can be divided into two parts: Solid offensively, sloppy defensively. I thought this German team at times looked incredible smooth offensively, epitomized by the beautifully crafted second goal by Florian Neuhaus. Defensively, the performance was extremely sloppy. Two individual mistakes led to two of Turkey’s goals but throughout the game, the German backline was plagued with sloppy passing and ignorant dribbling. Marking wise, the Germans often let Turkish players roam free in the penalty area without supervision and if it was a better opponent, they would have gotten punished severely for it.
The first half was predictably dull. Played at a low tempo, Germany’s inexperienced team took some time to merge as a unit. The second half was much better offensively and if the Germans were more clinical in front of the goal, they could have decided the game earlier.
None of the players into today’s starting eleven are an undisputed starter when Euro 2021 starts. Bernd Leno had a solid game, but it doesn’t matter too much as he is the third choice if all German goalkeepers remain fit for next summer. Florian Neuhaus showed glimpses of promise on his national team debut, but his playing style is too similar to Kimmich for him to get any serious minutes in the future.
What was a bit worrying was Antonio Rudiger and Emre Can’s performance. Two players who actually will push to be in the starting eleven this summer, their performance was just not good enough. What is worrying with Rudiger is that he is not a starter for Chelsea, the same goes for Nico Schulz. Both players need to get more playing time in their respective clubs to be a serious challenger for a starting place for the national team. Rudiger, especially, looked robust and clumsy which could be explained by his lack of playing time for Chelsea.
Kai Havertz, Julian Brandt, and Julian Draxler were all decent in today’s game and are three players who will most likely get some minutes in the Euro 2021. Havertz especially will be pushing for a starting place for Euro 2021 and he showed glimpses of brilliance today. One year with Lampard and Chelsea can do him good.
I want Germany to win comfortably against Ukraine and Switzerland. Simple as that. Jogi Löw and his team are now under heavy pressure, two comfortable wins will at least give the team some breathing room.
Playing with a B team and drawing in a friendly with three new debutants is not the end of the world. This young team has not much experience of playing together and the starting XI will most likely be completely swapped out against Ukraine in three days. However, what is worrying is the lack of controlling and deciding the game. A feature that has become a common character for Löw’s national team as of late.
Moving forward, I want Löw to decide on a starting eleven that can play together and get experience before Euro 2021. The same goes for the tactical set-up. Playing with a back-three seems to be the manager’s go-to formation, but he needs to stick with it or leave it behind.
I’m not against playing with a back-three, even after the defensively horror show that was displayed today as it is tactically flexible. Playing with a back-three does allow Germany to either push their wing-back up to an almost midfield position and play offensively or easily drop down and remain defensively solid.
What is clear is that Löw’s national team does need some favorable results in the future. Although it has been more than a year since the team lost, drawing against Switzerland and Turkey without impressing as a unit will raise question marks, especially since Germany last major tournament ended with disgrace.