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My Bad Take: Germany was going to be a force at the World Cup

I was dead wrong on this one, eh?

Costa Rica v Germany: Group E - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Marvin Ibo Guengoer - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images

This is the first post in our “Bad Take” series where we compile the bad Bayern Munich, Germany, or football (in general) takes we have had this year — or the takes we have now that could be bad moving forward.

Nobody’s perfect, right?

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar was looking good for Germany at one point.

Former Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick was at the helm, bringing his relentless attacking strategy and relationship management skills to a team that had potential — but desperately needed a new voice to guide them.

There was a star-studded roster which featured one of the top, young players in the game in Jamal Musiala, a core of “in their prime players” like Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sané, and, Antonio Rüdiger — plus a couple of veteran leaders in Thomas Müller and Manuel Neuer, who have been there and done that.

It was supposed to be the perfect mash-up.

Until it wasn’t.

I was all-in on Germany’s success and was predicting that while the team would not win the tournament, they would challenge for the trophy and show the world that Germany is back!

None of that happened, but why?

Flick pushed all of the wrong buttons with his personnel and tactics

Germany’s fate was ultimately set during its opening match loss to Japan where the squad collapsed in the final 15 minutes and ultimately sealed their World Cup fate. For what appeared to be the first time since taking over for Niko Kovač at Bayern Munich, Flick looked flummoxed. Nothing was working out the way he thought it would. Players under-performed, they couldn’t settle into a comfort zone with his strategies, and often failed to execute his tactical instructions.

Worse, none of the player combinations seemed to be a fit together, which was a huge surprise given the large Bayern Munich contingent and how Flick always seemed to make his players meld together in the past.

Worse-er? Flick fell into the Joachim Löw trap of being too loyal to players like Thomas Müller and İlkay Gündoğan when it was clear both were not playing up to par.

It was...disappointing.

The players underachieved and might have been suffering from some internal strife

Not only was the manager “off”, but the players did not live up to their potential. Aside of Niclas Füllkrug and Jamal Musiala, it was hard to find any player who was consistently good for Germany. Füllkrug performed when called upon (which was rarely) and Musiala was a menace in the attack, but did have trouble finishing.

Nothing was perfect.

Moreover, it seems the team had some internal strife. Not everyone was on board with making a political statement prior to the first game, which — like it or not — did cause an unwelcomed distraction. The sentiment was clearly one that called for acceptance, but some players just wanted to focus on football.

Who was right? Who was wrong? It does not matter much now, but having debates on how to protest rather than focusing on an upcoming opponent did have a tinge of arrogance associated with it — like Japan was just going to roll over and yield to the mighty German squad?

Clearly, that did not happen.

Ultimately — I was a sucker

Yeah, I’m including myself in the blame here. I let my desire to see a nice run by Germany in the World Cup cloud my vision. Admittedly, I was already not feeling great when the Germans barely got by Oman in the final warm-up before the tourney. There were a TON of red flags from that effort, but I wanted to be excited for the tourney and more, I wanted to see this German team — that looked like it had such good potential — do well.

They did not...hence, my take that Germany was going to be a force was bad (probably terrible actually).

This series will compile some takes we had that were bad or that we currently have, which might — or might not — be bad. To check them all out, see the stream that will be dropping later today and which will capture ALL of the bad takes we are laying out.

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