Germany face Latvia tomorrow in what will be their final friendly game before the Euros start, but it looks like Joachim Low hasn’t learned his lesson yet. Per the lineup used in training as reported by Sportbuzzer, the three-man backline is still in play, and the starting XI has only gotten worse.
According the report, the lineup brings in two Chelsea players for two Bayern Munich players, proving that Low has lost the plot completely. Kai Havertz takes the place of Leroy Sane on the wing, while Antonio Rudiger replaces Niklas Sule in defense. The formation was still the 3-4-3 that we’ve gotten used to over the years, but with Joshua Kimmich at right-back instead of Lukas Klostermann.
Here’s what it should look like, based on Sportbuzzer’s description:
There’s a lot to criticize here, so let’s go over it all as briefly as possible:
- The formation still uses a 3-man-backline, which none of these players are used to at the club level except Gosens, who plays for Atalanta.
- Gundogan and Kroos have never been able to form a solid pairing at the international level — neither player can truly defend the backline. While that may be the rationale behind using the 3-4-3 instead of a 4-2-3-1, there’s no way Germany won’t concede if the midfield cover isn’t there. Maybe the Latvia game will go well, but you can’t line up like this against France.
- Sule not being in the lineup doesn’t make much sense. Can’t he be moved to right-back instead? Kimmich could then stay in the midfield and keep things together. Despite Jogi’s criticism, I don’t even think Sule was bad in the Denmark game. He was Germany’s most advanced defender and the only one trying to progress the ball. He kept things from getting to static and helped out the midfield. Going more defensive by leaving him out feels like a mistake.
- If Havertz is coming in for Sane, then he’s probably being played as a winger instead of as a striker. That’s not exactly a great use of his abilities, even if he’ll have the support of Kimmich on his side. Also removing Sane in general seems like a bad idea, since you’re removing what little bit of chemistry you have between the Bayern players already on the squad. Kimmich, Gnabry, and Muller are all used to playing with Sane — he should be on the lineup.
- If Havertz is indeed at striker, then that means Thomas Muller has been moved out wide, a position that he doesn’t prefer. Let’s not do this again, please.
If this works, kudos to Low for making something positive happen for the first time in three years. However, the game against Latvia will be under a lot of scrutiny tomorrow. Germany can’t afford another close game or a mediocre win. The performance HAS to be good, otherwise the ominous winds will keep blowing until the Euros.