Imagine this lineup in your mind (Right to Left):
Christian Günter - Mats Hummels - Antonio Rüdiger - Marcel Halstenberg
Joshua Kimmich - Leon Goretzka
Leroy Sané - Thomas Müller - Serge Gnabry
Now, imagine this lineup:
Marc Andre Ter-Stegen
Lukas Klostermann - Jerome Boateng/Marcel Halstenberg - Niklas Süle - Robin Gosens
Ilkay Gündogan - Toni Kroos
Florian Wirtz - Kai Havertz - Jamal Musiala
Those two fantastic line-ups! I can create a third line-up by sticking the entire U-21 side in here; only Florian Wirtz’s name would be mentioned twice, I have left out players of the caliber of Jonas Hofmann, Lars Stindl, Marco Reus, Ridle Baku (who was in the U-21 side) among others. Yes, some of these players are aging; yes, some of them do not receive national call-ups anymore. But, my goodness, Germany is brimming with attacking talent and has up-and-coming defensive talent in the U-21 side.
What Germany currently lacks is a consistent philosophy; Joachim Löw insists on three at the back and the cohesion in the side is missing because the plurality of the starters in his side (at least four if all players are fit) will come from Bayern. Traditionally, the national side plays in at least a similar formation to Bayern (in 2010, Germany played a counter-attacking game but stuck to Bayern’s formation for example).
This team is absolutely brimming with talent. A consistent playing philosophy, the right use of experienced players and the right amount of rotation for players with long seasons behind them are all required to win a tournament. Players’ positions can be changed (Philipp Lahm in 2014 and Kimmich perhaps this year) but formation shouldn’t change.
Hansi Flick, a person who sticks to the game plan no matter what (Bayern never tweaked too much for anybody under him; the high-line, supposed to get destroyed in a Champions League final featuring Neymar and Kylian Mbappe just about survived and won the tournament for Bayern) is the kind of consistency this side needs.
I highly doubt if Germany will do well this time. I highly doubt whether Joachim Löw has any clue what his best team is. Müller cannot do it all on his own; Neuer cannot do it all on his own; Kimmich cannot do it all on his own.
However, if Löw finds the right balance somehow in the group stages and takes third place in the very least, Germany might qualify for the next round and kick off from there. If not, this could be another low in Germany’s international pedigree.
Morale was low before 2002; there were doubts before 2006 — in those tournaments (both World Cups of course), Germany did well despite performing poorly in both Euro 2000 and Euro 2002. Morale is really low going into this tournament too, with the only notable victory in recent memory coming over Latvia.
Maybe, there will be a miracle and Germany will progress far as they are a “tournament team.” Maybe they will exit at the group phase and finish last in their group. That does not change the fact that the World Cup is next year and not much will change in terms of the pool of players Germany will have to select from; in fact, with the U-21 players coming into contention, the pool will only expand.
Whatever happens this tournament, Germany will be okay for years to come under a manager who knows what he is doing and who values his players. After all, Germany’s problem is not a lack of talent (although, defensively and up front, a few more options would help); it is the lack of good management from a manager who should have been let go off three years ago after a disastrous performance in Russia and who chose to scapegoat players who were never to blame for what happened.
How far do you think Germany will progress in Euro 2020? Let us know your thoughts below and, as always, thank you for reading!