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Oman 0 - 1 Germany: Initial reactions and observations

O-man, Germany have very little time to prepare for this World Cup.

Oman v Germany - International Friendly Photo by Ahmed Abd Alkawey/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Initial reactions and observations:

  • Well, that was brutal. Germany’s World Cup campaign could scarcely have started on a more uninspired note.
  • Subs sparked the rescue, and Werder Bremen’s No. 9 proves to be Germany’s hero. Is there any way Füllkrug doesn’t start against Japan?
  • We didn’t see Thomas Müller or Mario Götze today, save for a glimpse of a sullen Müller on the sidelines. This is an awfully long lay-off for Müller, and maybe about time to get concerned.
  • Flick is going to enter this tournament facing a lot of questions, and the squad will feel they have so much to work on in the few days of training left.

Check out our post-game podcast for more coverage of the game!

90+3’ — Chance Germany! What a pass that was from midfield by Julian Brandt to play Sané in behind the Oman lines. Sané appears to nearly trip on the ball, though, and makes a hash of his cross. Plays like this should result in goals.

84’ — Nearly a second! The same combination again, as Hofmann goes to Havertz, who fires an excellent shot from the right half-space. Füllkrug pounces on the pieces and it's in the back of the net, but he’s ruled off-side.

80’ GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAL GERMANY! Jonas Hofmann sprays a ball ahead for Kai Havertz, who drives into the box and calmly slides in Füllkrug to his left. The striker makes absolutely no mistake, and buries it home for Germany’s advantage.

76’ — Kevin de Bruyne spots a brilliant forward run that splits Schlotterbeck and Bella-Kotchap, and feeds his teammate in behind the German defense from deep in midfield. Bella-Kotchap scrambles and comes dangerously close to conceding a penalty, but it’s narrowly off-side anyway.

(Edit: I’m told that wasn’t Kevin de Bruyne playing for Oman, and it’s only that Germany are making everyone look like world-beaters at the moment.)

Cooling break couldn’t come at a better time.

72’ — Are you kidding me?! How have Oman not scored! Germany are cut completely open on the break; Nico Schlotterbeck is caught out by a switch in no man’s land and Oman easily feed it inside from wing to center. A center-forward has a completely open shot at a wide-open goal, but he gets his touch horribly wrong and deflects the cross wide, to Manuel Neuer’s relief.

64’ — Germany sub. This is interesting: BVB’s Julian Brandt comes into midfield for Manchester City’s Gündoğan, leaving Kimmich the lone CM with any defensive sensibilities. Brandt and Havertz might function as twin 8s.

60’ — Chance Germany! Havertz slides in Jonas Hofmann, who plays a low cross in that Füllkrug nearly latches onto. In the end it's a corner. Sure looks good with a 9 out there, no?

56’ — SHOT OMAN! Thilo Kehrer gets turned inside out and Oman drive in on Manuel Neuer’s goal. Yikes!

53’ — CHANCE GERMANY! An errant back-pass goes straight to Niclas Füllkrug in the box, and he hits it with power like a true No. 9. Sensational save — and then off the corner, another shot comes from Kehrer in that looks like it has gone over the line! Play goes on, however.

On replays, it's clear that the ball was cleared just off the line. Super moment from the Oman keeper.

46’ — Lots of changes at the half! Füllkrug comes on wearing the #9, as does Joshua Kimmich, Christian Günter, and Nico Schlotterbeck in a series of like-for-like changes. Moukoko, Goretzka, Raum, and Ginter make way.

Half-time thoughts:

  • The Germans clearly aren’t in full gear, clearly, but Oman are going toe-to-toe.
  • Flick’s experimental line-up is offering more questions than answers.
  • I’m ready to see Niclas Füllkrug for an entire 45’. In fact, I think it’s imperative.

45+1’ — CHANCE GERMANY! Goretzka feeds Raum down the left flank and a looping cross lands at Moukoko’s feet. The Dortmund youngster gets in a nice shot; Goretzka hits it again on the parry, but that’s blocked too.

43’ CHANCE OMAN! The home side break dangerously, with Bella-Kotchap beaten one-on-one on the right side of central defense. A forward is found in space in shooting position but misses. Germany were threatening but lost the ball to concede this counter.

41’ — Sané delivers a crisp and precise ball right into the CF at the semi-circle, but Moukoko’s first touch lets him down again. Germany are having a lot of trouble showing anything.

38’ — For the second time in the last ten-odd minutes, Gündoğan dribbles through the left half-space and tries to feed the ball forward only for a short pass to be intercepted. The Germans are really out of sync.

34’ — Germany sub. Lukas Klostermann is already off (???) for Southampton’s exciting 20-year-old, Armel Bella-Kotchap. It looks like Klostermann can’t continue, and this shifts Thilo Kehrer out to right-back.

32’ — Cooling break for the players. Getting acclimated to the clime is probably as important as anything else in this match.

26’ — Matthias Ginter is down after taking a shot to the head. Leon Goretzka took some of the sizzle off it by blocking it off his, well, rear, but Ginter still has to make his way to the sidelines and get evaluated.

22’ — Germany win the ball back and Kai Havertz is in dangerous position to pull the strings. He tries a slightly audacious switch that falls short of the mark. The Germans are lacking crispness so far.

20’ — A ball over the top from Oman evades Matthias Ginter in central defense and the home side are through — but extraordinarily wasteful with their chance.

1’ — Kickoff! We’re underway! Or are we? The schedule says so! Someone who has a stream can tell us how these away jerseys look for the Germans. All eyes will be on 17-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko, who leads the line today.

One hour until kickoff: We have lineups! Hansi Flick fields a 4-2-3-1 with many regular starters benched. Looks like he’s experimenting today. If these players want to be on the main XI come next week, they’ll need a good performance here. Germany don’t need a win, they just need information.

There’s only a week left until Germany kick off their 2022 World Cup campaign with an opener against Japan. Hansi Flick has a ton of work to do — he needs to find his best XI, he needs to get his players up to speed, and he needs to finalize what the team setup will be when the actual important games roll around. Unfortunately, he only has one test game against Oman to figure some things out, which makes this game all the more important.

Most people expect the Bayern Munich contingent to dominate the German XI, and that’ll undoubtedly be the case. As their former coach, Hansi knows these guys, and they are the most talented stars Germany has right now. However, even within the Bayern setup, there are questions about Thomas Muller’s fitness, Leroy Sane’s current form, and more. Meanwhile, the rest of the team has question marks hanging over it. This game against Oman should provide valuable insight.

While you’re waiting for the game, why not check out our podcast? We analyzed all of Hansi Flick’s potential lineup options and which would be the best one. Listen to it below or on Spotify.

Match Info

Location: Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex, Muscat, Oman

Time: 9:00 pm local time, 12:00 pm EST

TV/streaming: Find Your Country

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