With the amazing talent that both young players possess, it is rather surprising that Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala and Bayer Leverkusen’s Florian Wirtz do not play alongside one another as often for the German national team. However, during the October international break, Julian Nagelsmann experimented with doing so in the friendlies against the U.S Men’s National Team as well as Mexico.
The two starlets play almost exactly the same position for Bayern and Leverkusen, respectively, but utilizing them both in the starting lineup for Germany can definitely have its place. They can both play central attacking midfield roles, wide attacking roles, and even slightly deeper-lying midfield roles. They have been in the Germany squad together a handful of times by now, but Nagelsmann was really the first one to try utilizing both of them from the get-go with the sort of tactically luxury you are afforded in friendlies.
Leverkusen’s Wirtz, who is enjoying a fantastic season under Xabi Alonso with Die Werkself sitting in pole position in the Bundesliga table, recently described playing with Musiala in the Die Mannschaft setup.
“Of course we want to contribute our qualities. I do believe that both of us, like others in the team, can decide games. We play almost identical positions and interpret the role similarly. We get along well on the pitch. It’s just fun to play with Jamal - certainly because we are the same age and we think about the same things. Nevertheless, we definitely still had room for improvement in our first games together,” Wirtz explained to Sportbuzzer’s Heiko Ostendorp (via @iMiaSanMia).
When you start to peel back the layers, there are too many things going wrong with the German national team to properly count, but Nagelsmann has to do his best to strike a balance between stability and creative fluidity. In other words, he has to make sure the defense is not exposed too much by too much of an attacking focus and vice versa. With Wirtz and Musiala on the pitch at the same time, there is the obvious worry that another attacking winger or midfielder would be relegated to the bench, potentially jeopardizing the tactical eb and flow of the squad. However, there are so many other things Nagelsmann has to get right before that issue is at the top of the list as Euro 2024 approaches next year.