Germany trudged their way to a 0-1 defeat against Hungary in the most lifeless performance of the Hansi Flick era — just in time for the 2022 Men's World Cup! When it rains, it pours. But now there's a chance to regroup in Monday's match against equally dire England.
The Three Lions have been relegated from this Nations League group after two points, a 0-2-3 record, with one goal scored and seven conceded. So, yes, there's distance to rock bottom yet!
Lukas Nmecha is out with knee problems and not traveling with the team to London. Now Germany really have no strikers!
Antonio Rüdiger will be unavailable for this match after he earned a yellow for an errant challenge against Hungary — it was his second yellow of the group stage.
Manuel Neuer, Leon Goretzka, and Borussia Dortmund's Julian Brandt are all still out with illness and had already left the camp — Neuer and Goretzka with confirmed COVID-19 and therefore still in isolation until they test negative.
This is a really big blow for Brandt especially, whose hopes of making the eventual World Cup squad have been on a string. It also leaves Germany light in midfield.
Hansi Flick has declared the time for experimentation to be over, but what will that mean? Clearly, Germany are in need of some solutions. They're also in need of some rest, and finding out what works best.
To that end, it's probably finally time to give Thomas Müller a breather. Joshua Kimmich, too — but Flick's options are light in midfield without Goretzka, Brandt, or Mainz 05's Anton Stach.
Jamal Musiala was given a run in central midfield against Hungary, and this might be a good time to find out if this is a viable option for the tournament. Stach was a notable omission from Flick's call-ups after making the June squad, and it's hard to wonder whether a projection for Musiala in central midfield is part of the reason why.
Up front, look for Chelsea FC's Kai Havertz to start in Müller's place. Havertz is too good to have missed out against Hungary with anything other than load management in mind, and he terrorized England in their 2021 EURO matchup while drifting all across the pitch. Serge Gnabry — who only got one half on Sunday, in an unusual role on account of Hofmann at right-back — could do with another chance.
Hofmann at right-back is likely done, which means West Ham's Thilo Kehrer, a Flick favorite, should be in line to start.
Here's how tomorrow’s XI may look:
You could call this a 4-2-3-1, 4-2-2-2, or 4-4-2. Since Werner isn't a true striker, Flick might revert to his June tactics that often ended up rotating two players up top — with Gnabry and Hofmann the ideal candidates to do so from the right side.
- SC Freiburg's Matthias Ginter in the back-line for Kehrer.
- Inter Milan's Robin Gosens getting a look at left-back in place of David Raum.
- Gladbach's Hofmann retaining his spot at right wing over Serge Gnabry.
- Hansi runs Thomas Müller into the ground with another 85+ minutes.
- İlkay Gündoğan (Manchester City) retains his spot in the pivot — admittedly, this is likely.
Update: German media predicted lineups
Here’s what kicker thinks:
England vs Germany | Predicted lineups [@kicker] pic.twitter.com/hJKZltrAGx— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) September 25, 2022
Looking for more talk about Germany's prospects? Check out our September Nations League Preview Podcast. Listen below, or on Spotify.
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