Four awards for German national team players after that display against Oman? Well...traditions must be honored. Let’s get into it.
Jersey Swap: Ibrahim Al-Mukhaini
Maybe this does Oman’s outfield players an injustice, as there was plenty of hard work, especially in midfield, for them to achieve the kind of display they did against Germany. But the keeper was on point when it counted, making a number of crucial interventions to keep the game at an uncomfortable 0-0 deep into the second half. When the Germans finally broke through, there was little he could do about it.
Der Kaiser: Matthias Ginter
Gonna be frank, the performances in defense were not inspiring. It was downright brutal at times, especially in one-on-ones. Ginter, at least, looks ready to play and solid, if limited. Armel Bella-Kotchap looked not ready for the occasion, and Real Madrid’s Antonio Rüdiger can’t get back soon enough.
Fußballgott: Joshua Kimmich
I mean, who else. Germany were actually getting overrun in midfield without Kimmich, by Oman. Kimmich gets a lot of shtick for his defensive frailties — but such as they are, he still remains the best six in the world because of everything he does offer in distribution and tempo-setting. For a team that likes to defend by getting on the front foot, Kimmich is absolutely crucial. It’s impossible to imagine a single game this tournament without him starting.
Der Bomber: Kai Havertz
Operating as the No. 10, the Chelsea forward looked pretty composed and quality throughout — even if, like many of his teammates, it was far less crisp than it needed to be. Havertz drifted across the pitch and provided smooth service to his teammates. He doesn’t look like a singular difference-maker — yet — but can be a creative danger man who also helps tactically by being able to add to overloads wherever they are needed.
And his aerial presence can’t be discounted either, as his height advantage was crucial to his assist. Havertz likely won’t be preferred to the likes of Jamal Musiala or Thomas Müller, but he does offer a different profile and should be expected to play a considerable role.
Meister of the Match: Niclas Füllkrug
How, at 29, has Füllkrug not been a bigger part of the Germany setup to date? The Werder Bremen forward not only looks like everything Germany have been missing in the profile of a center-forward, but seems to have the right mentality and on-field energy for the team as well. This is a guy you want in the trenches — and his goal proved his bona fides.
Bayern had Choupo-Moting to address their scoring woes and turn the entire energy of the team around. Could Germany be in line for a parallel story?
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