Germany had a solid game against Ukraine in Leipzig. Without Joshua Kimmich or Kai Havertz, the Germans put themselves in a doable position to win their UEFA Nations League group. Here are BFW’s observations from the game.
A fluid attacking trio
If all goes well, Germany’s starting XI in the European Championship will include the trio of Leroy Sane, Timo Werner, and Serge Gnabry. The three form an incredible fluid attacking trio that could score from a counter-attack against Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan from 2010. With Werner being the focal point, Sane and Gnabry acts like inner forwards, often switching sides with one another. It can, at times, be incredibly hard to defend against.
Timo Werner has now scored in each of his last five appearances for club and country:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 14, 2020
Six goals in the last 17 days. pic.twitter.com/7KJXiLJSPd
Lack of a number nine
I think this trio will work extremely well against better European sides that have their defensive line relatively high, at least compared to the often-defensive Ukraine. It is when the trio faces a team that defends with 11 men when Germany’s attack comes to a stand-still. I would, therefore, love to have a number 9 in the German team this summer. Gian-Luca Waldschmidt, in my opinion, does not offer anything different from Timo Werner and I think Löw should honestly consider bringing Nils Petersen to the Euros.
I’ve hinted at this need before and I believe the traditional striker, who scores regularly in the Bundesliga for Freiburg, would add something different to the German bench.
I understand why Löw plays with a five-man defense. The solid shape can allow Germany to soak up pressure while being devastating on the counter. However, it doesn’t fully work when the center-backs and defense overall continue to be fragile. Germany dominated the game and possession against Ukraine but always looked extremely vulnerable whenever the Ukrainians were sending men forwards.
This needs to be fixed as it has been a common trait for far too long for this national team. While I am almost certain Antonio Rudiger keeps on getting playing time for the national team due to his lack of playing time for Chelsea, he is simply not good enough to face the best of football’s attackers. Robin Koch is promising and had a decent game, however, his inexperience often shows and will continue to be a worry before this summer. Hopefully, Niklas Sule and Matthias Ginter will form a good partnership while Koch can continue to improve.
Is Phillip Max ready to become XI regular?
Phillip Max had another solid game in his second German national team appearance. Max works perfectly in Löw’s five-man defense system as he is great going forward and a hard worker defensively. His crosses are always dangerous, and it is strange why he didn’t move to a bigger German club but opted instead for PSV Eindhoven. Considering Nico Schulz is hardly playing for Borussia Dortmund and Marcel Halstenberg is injured, Max has a good opportunity to impress for Löw before the Euros.