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BFW Commentary: The German national team’s defense kind of sucks

Oh, Hansi, what have you done?

Germany Announces FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Squad
My reaction when I see Thilo Kehrer but not Mats Hummels on the squad — why Hansi, why?
Photo by Markus Gilliar - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images

A quick scan of the German national team’s squad of 26 reveals that there are no defenders from Bayern Munich, though there are seven Bayern players in attack, midfield and goal. Having gotten used to the luxury of the Bavarian defense with the likes of world-class players like Alphonso Davies, Lucas Hernandez, Matthijs de Ligt, Dayot Upamecano and Benjamin Pavard, the German backline looks unappetizing and scary. How could one feel at peace with Thilo Kehrer at their backline?

On the topic of Kehrer, the entirety of BFW unanimously agrees that his addition might have been the worst mistake by Hansi Flick. It is confusing what exactly Flick sees in the 26-year-old — all I remember of Kehrer is his ghastly tackles and his obsessive ball-hogging.

If Kehrer manages to perform any better than what he does at West Ham, it should be considered a win. Funnily, the last time West Ham won was 3-0 against the Romanian side FCSB and Kehrer did not play, or make the bench. Maybe this is something the Hammers could take note of so they can move from that ugly 15th place to perhaps a respectable top six spot.

A quick scan of the team reveals a gaping hole at right-back. One can presume Flick would fill with Kehrer or Niklas Süle or Lucas Klostermann — which begs the question, does Germany have no proper right-backs? Perhaps not — a certain Ridle Baku comes to memory, so does Leverkusen’s Mitchell Weiser. We might just end up witnessing good ol’ Joshua Kimmich skedaddle back to his old position.

Centre-back may not be a cause for concern — Süle, Nico Schlotterbeck, Antonio Rüdiger, Matthias Ginter and Armel Bella-Kotchap are all quality players (once we forget their inconsistency) and of course, there’s Thilo Kehrer. The omission of Mats Hummels is something to talk about, since he certainly deserves a spot among the 26 chosen players.

The argument against Hummels is his lack of pace, with which I must agree — Hummels was more or less single-handedly responsible for three of the goals Gladbach scored against Borussia Dortmund in Matchday 15. But it also is a fact that Hummels has been the best centre-back in Dortmund, even after the arrival of more dynamic, pacey and strong players like Süle and Schlotterbeck. With the statistics from the past few years in account, it is safe to say Hummels, even past his prime, has tactically surpassed players like Rüdiger. If not a constant presence and a confirmed starter, a player like Hummels with his awareness and experience is a must-have for Germany.

Left-back — finally a position I have no qualms with. David Raum and Christian Günter are both excellent players whom I highly rate. Robin Gosens did not even remotely deserve a spot and as an Inter Milan fan, I’m highly disappointed that the purchase was even made.

It’s going to be hard to trust this backline, with inconsistent players galore but things aren’t all that bad. With a bit of luck on our side, perhaps every Bayern fan’s favourite Sülinho will show up or Thilo Kehrer might suddenly become a good player. So putting all criticism aside, let’s just try enjoy Flick-ball and the World Cup. Lass uns anfangen!

Looking for more chatter on Germany’s World Cup squad, the Bayern Munich contingent, who was left out, and who was a surprise inclusion? Check out our Weekend Warm-up Podcast, which features a deep dive on Hansi Flick’s squad ahead of their tournament in Qatar:

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