It only took two minutes to get the party started in Duisburg as a Bayern triumvirate got the Germans moving. Leon Goretzka opened the scoring, Kai Havertz added a second, and Ilkay Gündogan wrapped up the match with an excellent goal to add icing on the cake. Without further ado, here are the observations:
Joshua Kimmich is the best holding midfielder in the world
I was watching a panel on a prominent sports network recently in which the host asks which player the panelists would rather build a team around: Kevin de Bruyne or Joshua Kimmich? The answer seemed to be De Bruyne, unanimously. De Bruyne, in his own right, is an excellent player. However, I firmly believe that nobody is quite as versatile or possesses a vision like that of Kimmich. Even when his head was down today, seemingly concentrating on the ball, he knew where Leroy Sané was.
He picked out Serge Gnabry for the first goal who found Goretzka with a wonderful pass back to his Bayern teammate. He picked out Sané who set up Havertz for the second goal. He took at least three shots on goal himself and covered for a makeshift Germany defense when they seemed in trouble as he was there whenever Manuel Neuer was seeking out a pass in a dangerous situation. It made me realize that Bayern’s victory last weekend against Stuttgart over the weekend with ten men was even more impressive due to Kimmich absence.
Kimmich is the heart and soul of both the German National Team and Bayern. Without him, Bayern starts dropping points. Without him, Germany loses 6-0 to Spain.
Leroy Sané is simply quite magnificent
His performance waned in the second half after he seemed to suffer a minor knock in the first half, yet, he was able dance around the Iceland backline for the first 45 minutes. He was everywhere and when Kimmich sought out his Bayern teammate, he found him. His pressing and defending were of top quality as well.
One fear about the former Manchester City attacker when he came to Bayern was that he would never reach his former heights after his injury. I would happily wager that he will be better in the coming months barring any injury problems. Sané seems like a player who has been a part of Bayern for much longer than just half a season or so. He seems to be the complete package as he defends and attacks with vigor. The nickname “Arjen Sané” is making the rounds, and rightfully so.
Germany looked a shadow of themselves when an out-of-form Gnabry and Sané played last year in August for the national side. Meanwhile, today both players have returned to form and Germany looked excellent. Gnabry helped set up the first and third. Perhaps, if the Bayern contingent stays in form, Germany can legitimately challenge for Euro 2020.
A ticking Bayern Munich core is vital for Joachim Löw
Let me be clear, this means that Thomas Müller needs an invite too. The Bayern players know each other well, and their almost telepathic connection was evident for all to see today. A makeshift Germany defense was almost caught out a few times which hints that the addition of Jerome Boateng and former Bayern man Mats Hummels, could also be necessary. Niklas Süle’s absence was obvious as well.
Although Löw has announced his departure, he still needs to ensure that harmony exists within the squad ahead of the Euros. As a result, it may be vital for Löw to call up Müller ahead of the Euros.
Should Toni Kroos be left on the bench?
Kroos is a clear favourite of Joachim Löw when it comes to the national side selection. He wasn’t available today for selection, and, as a result, Germany started with a midfield trio of Goretzka - Kimmich - Gündogan. Without Kroos, the midfield seemed more fluid and more dynamic and the team seemed better connected overall.
Perhaps, this game was a one-off and because the opposition was poor, the need for Kroos wasn’t necessary. Perhaps, more players are in-form and hence, Kroos’ absence wasn’t felt. However, that being said, Germany’s fluidity today made me think that a link between Kimmich and Goretzka is important for the team to function. Moving forward, maybe Kroos should get comfortable on the bench, although that is highly unlikely to happen under a fairly rigid national coach.
So, there you have it, everyone! As always, let us know your thoughts below and thank you for reading!