This game fell apart for Germany fast: Spain went up after 17 minutes and scored two more before the halftime whistle momentarily ended Germany’s suffering. Spain then came out of the tunnel again and piled on the pain: by the end, they had scored six goals past Manuel Neuer. It is the biggest defeat for Germany that I can remember. It was a pathetic match that should make the DFB ask itself one big, hard question. But I don’t think they will.
All Jogi’s answers for Germany’s defense are wrong
Germany’s defense has been awful for so long. Sure, the midfield ostensibly there to help them (Ilkay Gündogan, Leon Goretzka, and Toni Kroos) was next to useless, but you still expect better of Germany. The absence of Antonio Rüdiger is no excuse, because he is usually one of the biggest reasons why Germany’s defense stinks. Instead, Niklas Süle was paired with Robin Koch (currently at Leeds), while Matthias Ginter played right-back and Philipp Max played left-back.
They all were terrible, even Süle, who probably was not totally fit and had to leave at halftime (knee issues).
Suffice it to say that Koch and especially Max looked completely out of their depth. Max was so overwhelmed chasing down Alvaro Morata and Ferran Torres that Timo Werner regularly had to dash back to help defend on the left. Koch kicked off the second half with a big mistake, and then Tah did the same thing. After Süle left, they all were awful. Spain had so many chances. 5-0 after 72 minutes is generous.
It’s outrageous that Jogi Löw will not recall at least Mats Hummels, and he should really recall both Hummels and Jerome Boateng. He has no excuse. The backups are not up to the task.
Front three + immobile midfield = no offense
On paper, you’d think a front three of Leroy Sané, Serge Gnabry, and Timo Werner would be a real threat. In normal circumstances, you’d be right. But this is Jogi Löw’s Germany we’re talking about. Germany’s offense was supported by the trio of Leon Goretzka on the right, Toni Kroos on the left, and Ilkay Gündogan sitting deep in the middle. That’s one dynamic back-to-back midfielder stuck on one side of the pitch, and two slowpokes who arguably should no longer be part of this team.
Goretzka unfortunately saw the least of the ball. Germany was starved of possession 2 to 1 (66% for Spain by the 82nd minute as I type this). Kroos did little of note, and Gündogan played so deep yet so ineffectively that he neither helped Germany move forward nor helped their hapless back line stave off wave after wave of Spain’s fast attacks.
The midfield also spectacularly failed to put pressure on Spain in the middle. Time and again, Germany just stood around while Spain circulated the ball until they found an opening and pounced. The speedsters up front seemed to spend more time tracking back to bail out the defense. They certainly couldn’t do much attacking.
Pathetic, but how löw will Germany go?
The worst aspect of the game? The complete lack of interest and passion. Spain came to play. They have had a few rough games, but they are a quality team. They have the same ridiculously overpacked schedule as their German counterparts. They were missing some key players, too. (Thiago, come dahoam!)
I don’t think the absence of Bayern and Germany’s Eternal Flame, Joshua Kimmich, is any excuse for a 6-0 humiliation. This team played badly, and their attitude was worse.
But I have my doubts that any of this will matter. Germany may not finish at the top of their Nations League group. No one really cares about the Nations League anyway. But this team is not right. This team has persistent problems in practically every area of the pitch, and especially in the defense and midfield.
Löw has rearranged the parts — deck chairs? — but the whole is somehow even less than their sum. How long will it go on? Perhaps we’ll find out in March, when Germany has three more games. But don’t expect the DFB to do anything rash in the meantime. They’ve made their bed, and all signs indicate they intend to sleep in it a while longer.