In a game where Spain were the favorites on paper, Germany had a few moments of brilliance but failed to hold on to their one-goal lead as Spain came back in the final minute of injury time to level the score and draw the game at 1-1. Here are our match observations:
A flashy but disorganized German side
Jogi’s Löw’s men were missing a rounded presence in midfield against La Roja. Be it in attack, holdup, or defense, Die Mannschaft was missing an organizing and calming presence to lead them. The midfield and defense often looked nervy in possession and were anything but exuding confidence when under pressure from a decent Spanish press.
The German attack on the other hand was far more dangerous than their Spanish counterpart. The pace of Leroy Sané and Timo Werner proved time and again to be too much for Spain’s high line. Rustiness from lack of game time and some superb defending from Real Madrid’s main man Sergio Ramos and Bayern Munich’s resident magician Thiago Alcantara on one occasion prevented more goals for Germany.
With a total of 11 chances created and 7 shots on goal, Germany was the better attacking side for most of the game before Spain upped the pressure towards the end to score the equaliser. In all, Spain created 12 chances and got 5 shots on target.
Toni Kross didn’t impress wearing the armband. The team always looked like it could do with someone marshalling the troops and a gelling presence to do so, which leads us to the next observation...
The Germans missed their colleagues from Bavaria
Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry and Captain Manuel Neuer were not called up but deservedly rested after their deep run in the Champions League that culminated in Bayern Munich’s 6th CL title. Kimmich’s calm in the middle, Leon’s physicality and late runs into the box, and Serge’s link-up play in transition and attack — all of it would have greatly benefited the German squad today and resulted in a well rounded showing on the pitch.
Confusing substitutions by Joachim Löw
Leroy Sané troubled Spain to no end today but couldn’t show it in his final product. Sané is still rusty from the long layoff due to injury. He came close to scoring on a couple of occasions and close to assisting a couple more. Once he requested to be subbed after the 60th minute though, the opposition no longer needed to hold back and increased their attacking pressure, as Sane’s replacement was the centre-back Mathias Ginter.
With Löw reluctant to bring on any more attackers, the duo of Werner and Julian Draxler failed to pin down the Spaniards from going all in on attack. The strategy of desperately holding on to the one-goal lead by having 5 defenders and 2 fullbacks on the pitch failed. Spain managed to score the equaliser and draw the game in the 95th minute with virtually unimpeded access to the final 3rd past the 80th minute.
An attacking substitute in Kai Havertz or Julian Brandt would have fared better in helping hold back the opposition and catching them on the counter to extend the lead and seal the win. As a result of not doing so, the Spaniards forged ahead non-stop when they saw the German attackers subbed out for defensive options and deservedly stole a point with their relentless pressure towards the end.