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Jamal Musiala demands higher attacking standards for Germany

The Bayern Munich wonderkid contributed to two goals and saw his team score three against England, but it wasn’t enough.

England v Germany: UEFA Nations League - League Path Group 3
Musiala made a fool of Harry Maguire against England — and more than once.
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala is fast emerging as a key player for both club and country. He earned a start under Hansi Flick in Germany’s 3-3 draw against England to cap off both teams’ UEFA Nations League runs leading up to the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup, and played a part in both goals en route to an arguably MOTM performance — but for him, it was not enough.

“We should have controlled the game more at 2-0,” Musiala declared after the game (via DFB). “We created a number of openings and ought to have been more incisive in our attacking.”

Musiala earned his team’s chance at the opener himself, dribbling through Manchester United’s Harry Maguire, who clubbed him down inside the box. After the 1-0 — through the penalty conversion from Manchester City’s İlkay Gündoğan in the 52nd minute — a string of chances went narrowly begging for the Germans.

Let’s run through them again:

59’ — After a throw-in, right-back Thilo Kehrer (West Ham) plays RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner down the line. A slip inside the box from Tottenham’s Eric Dier leaves him free to lead a 3-on-1 charge against Kyle Walker, but Werner’s pull-back is poor. Leroy Sané was in unbelievable position, but Werner aims at Havertz — and behind him rather than in space.

60’ — A give-and-go between former Bayern, now Borussia Dortmund center-back Niklas Süle leads to a Sülinho charge into the box and a long-range hit — excellent chance, just wide of the target!

England v Germany: UEFA Nations League - League Path Group 3
Süle’s offensive contributions during this international break should not go unnoticed!
Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

62’ — Another throw-in on the crowded right sideline sees Musiala jink and jitter through three England players and into open green, the ball coolly tethered to his feet. He feeds Timo Werner in on goal with a delightful through-ball, but Werner’s pass/shot curls — just wide of the goal, but not enough that it lands in Leroy Sané’s path at the back post.

This was a ferocious spell of play where Germany looked likely to break the game open, and when the breakthrough eventually came in the 67th minute — on a play made possible by Musiala’s winning of the ball deep in midfield — the dam looked ready to burst.

England v Germany: UEFA Nations League - League Path Group 3
An incredible change of pace coming from Gareth Southgate’s bench — how did these two start there to begin with?
Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images

But Gareth Southgate’s substitutions who had just come on — Chelsea FC’s Mason Mount for City’s Raheem Sterling, and Arsenal FC’s Bukayo Saka for Phil Foden — England suddenly restored parity in midfield. Soon it was Germany overrun through large swaths of the pitch, and Musiala and his teammates watched as their 2-0 lead dwindled — and then evaporated — in a matter of minutes.

By the 83rd, Germany were 2-3 and in the red. A few sharper moments in attack might have changed all that — and maybe crushed the opponents’ spirit before they could begin to mount their comeback.

Notes for improvement, for Germany as well as Bayern! If Musiala and his teammates can bring this attacking energy back to Bavaria — and fine-tune it besides — the German Rekordmeisters will be in great shape.

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