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Three observations about Germany’s lackluster 1-0 win over Romania

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It wasn’t pretty, but Germany come away from Bucharest with all three points to stay atop of their qualifying group.

Romania v Germany - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

After cruising to a 3-0 win over Iceland on Thursday, Germany let off the gas a little when they faced Romania. With a depleted roster, Jogi Löw went into Sunday’s match with no changes to the starting eleven. Germany — led again by a Bayern Munich core of players — managed a 1-0 away victory, despite lack of finishing or coaching tactics.

Germany controlled the game with possession

With a whopping two-thirds of the possession, Germany didn’t allow Romania much time to build an attack. The defensive and midfield units pounced on any counter attacks and squashed them before they got too dangerous. It must be said that Romania, — like most teams do when playing a superior opponent — sat back and looked for chances to counter. However, when Germany turned the ball over, they were able to get numbers back and defended well. On the day, Romania was only able to get one shot off following a counter attack. In a match where it was imperative to keep a clean sheet, Manuel Neuer only had to make two saves, both of which looked extremely comfortable for the German captain.

Germany’s attack could have done better

Although Germany controlled most of the game, they are perhaps lucky to be leaving Bucharest with the full three points. Slower than the start to the game on Thursday, it took 16 minutes for Germany to get on the board with Gnabry’s goal. After Gnabry’s tap-in goal, the German attack set up four more big chances, but were not able to put the ball in the back of the net again. The most frustrating part to watch, was that the creativity was there tonight. Goretzka, Sane, Kimmich, Gnabry, and others were linking up well in dangerous areas, but nobody stepped up to finish the shot.

In a small note to the defense of Germany’s attackers, it must also be said that the Romanian goalkeeper, Florin Niță, came up big time and time again for his side. This is also often seen when you face the favorite to win the group.

Lack of tactics could hurt Germany again

There has been — and will be — a lot to say about Jogi Löw and his tactical decisions. Although his legacy is partially set in stone due to the World Cup victory and the longevity of his career, Löw will continue to tarnish his legacy if they drop points in World Cup qualifiers or go out early in Euro 2020. Yes, Löw has a small bench for this stint of qualifiers, but there seemed to be very little coaching done. When the camera would point to the tactical area, Löw would be sitting back in his chair watching on. When Romania was throwing everything they had at getting an equalizer, he brought on a forward in the 77th minute. Then he sat on his subs until deep into stoppage time.