In a recent edition of Suddeutsche Zeitung (via Sport Bild), Ralf Rangnick pulled no punches in his criticism of Joachim Low’s personnel decisions for Germany at the Euros. The former RB Leipzig manager just accepted a position as head of sports for Lokomotiv Moscow and was rather critical of Low’s handling of Die Mannschaft this summer at the European Championships.
Specifically referencing the 2-0 loss to England in the round of 16, Rangnick said that Germany’s lineup looked like it was just sort of thrown together and that too many players were playing out of their natural position. “With our team everything looked like some kind of thrown together mix so that certain players could be on the field. But that didn’t result in a coherent whole,” he explained.
Of course, there were a lot of complexities that went into Low’s personnel selections. For one, there was an abundance of center backs and midfielders in the squad and a shortage of wing backs aside from Joshua Kimmich and Robin Gosens. Because of that, Kimmich had to play right back instead of his preferred central midfield role that he occupies so well alongside Leon Goretzka at Bayern Munich. Both Toni Kroos and Ilkay Gundogan are used to having defensive-minded midfielders alongside them at their respective clubs (Real Madrid, Manchester City), so they have a bit more freedom in an attacking sense, which created a lot of spaces opening up ahead of the back line for Germany this summer.
Rangnick insisted that Low should’ve chosen to play each player in their best position. “At the level of a European Championships, all eleven players should play in their top position. That was certainly not the case with the German team,” he ranted. Specifically focusing on Germany’s midfield, he said, “aggressive ball-winning is also difficult when you are playing without a warrior in the center. At their clubs, Kroos and Gündogan are used to having a real six next to or behind them who always has the knife between his teeth when winning the ball. At the EM there was no one in the middle for Germany.”
Rangnick also called for a more active role for the German national team manager. It’s not to say that the role doesn’t already consist of a long list of contractual demands, but he feels that the manager should be far more proactive in terms of exposure to the clubs that most of the Die Mannschaft players play for. “The national coach should be a full-time job. Ten hours a day, visit a different club every week,” he implored.