According to a report from Bild (as captured by Twitter account @iMiaSanMia), Germany manager Joachim Löw could be contemplating a change in formation — and personnel — for the squad’s upcoming match against England at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday.
Let’s start with personnel first.
Per the report, Ilkay Gündogan, Robin Gosens, and the Bayern Munich duo of Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry could all find their way to the bench. Löw is reportedly considering five options to replace the quartet: Leon Goretzka, Thomas Müller, Jamal Musiala, Timo Werner, and Marcel Halstenberg.
Should Löw stick with a 3-4-3, Gosens is expected to retain his starting position, but if the 2014 World Cup-winning manager opts for a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3, Halstenberg would step in because he is considered to be a better defender than the Atalanta star.
Werner’s potential inclusion is allegedly based on Löw’s theory that the Chelsea FC forward will be motivated to play in London.
A potential benching of Gündogan, Sane, and Gnabry would certainly be warranted. Gündogan has not been impactful in the least and Sane and Gnabry have both struggled playing in more narrow roles.
As for who would replace them, the solution is pretty clear. Müller and Goretzka are shoe-ins for Sane and Gündogan.
Müller was only held out of the starting XI because of a knee injury. His performance — while not highlighted by goals and assists — has been exemplary, while Goretzka is just a bigger, faster, more physical, and more impactful presence than Gündogan. Goretzka has clearly earned the right to start for his country.
As for Gnabry, the situation is a little more cloudy. Gnabry has worked his way into being one of Löw’s “Made Men” with the likes of Toni Kroos. It would seemingly take a lot for Löw to relent and remove Gnabry at this point — I personally doubt it will happen — but if he does, the options would clearly be Musiala or Werner.
Werner has the kind of game-breaking pace and ability to get behind defenders that could result in success against England’s backline. Musiala, though, has show to be a creative and disruptive presence.
Whatever happens on the frontline, we will likely see both Werner and Musiala at some point in the match.
As for Gosens, he and Halstenberg essentially occupy different positions at this stage for Germany. About the only way Gosens will lose his spot is if Löw changes gears completely and shifts to a back-four.