Hansi Flick tried something new in Germany’s 0-1 loss to Hungary in the UEFA Nations League. In a departure from the tactics his team had settled into in June, the German men’s national team coach deployed Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Jonas Hofmann at right-back. This meant attack-minded players one both sides of his formation at full-back to try and break down Hungary’s compact defensive block.
But by half-time, Flick was forced to switch configurations again after a limp display of offensive football in the first 45’. After the game, the coach acknowledged that it didn’t work out as he’d hoped:
Flick admits he got it wrong with Hofmann at RB: "We wanted to try something with Jonas Hofmann in the right-back position. I have to take a bit of the blame for that. We wanted to go into the game with two attacking full-backs, but we never got what we wanted. It didn't work"— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) September 23, 2022
Additionally, Flick joined in a a chorus of post-game condemnations of Germany’s first-half performance, adding: “The time for experiments is over.”
Flick: "The first half was our worst since I've been here. Low confidence, little intensity, few chances, many mistakes. I wasn't expecting that. Everyone has to work on themselves. The time for experiments is over" [@kerry_hau, @berger_pj] pic.twitter.com/mHLunTqJVB— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) September 23, 2022
At half-time, Flick made the call to bring on West Ham United’s Thilo Kehrer at right-back. This reverted to his more typical setup featuring one attacking (RB Leipzig’s David Raum on the left), one defensive full-back and it brought some more control to Germany’s game. Jonas Hofmann (Gladbach), Germany’s in-form goal scorer from the June matches, would stay on the pitch and move up to the attacking wings, with Serge Gnabry making way.
The Germans came out of the break with more energy and enjoyed a livelier and more artistic second half, but still didn’t find the breakthrough and staggered to defeat.
Germany will get their chance at redemption against relegated England on Monday. The window to get ready for the 2022 Men’s World Cup is closing fast — and so are the opportunities to improve.
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