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Five match observations from Germany’s uneven 3-2 loss to Belgium

Did Germany make any progress during this break?

International Friendly”Germany v Belgium” Photo by ANP via Getty Images

What a mess.

Germany gave up two goals in the first nine minutes to Belgium and looked absolutely terrible for the majority of the first half before desperation kicked in. If you heard it was bad and didn’t see it, we can assure you it was worse than you can imagine.

It did eventually get a little better, but not good enough to prevent the Belgians from marching out of Germany with a victory. Here are some observations on the friendly:

Raum is one of the most positionally unaware defenders in Germany

For all of his offensive talent, David Raum played Romelu Lukaku onside for Belgium’s second goal. It was already obvious that the German defense was a mess, but Raum’s sloppiness was an absolute killer. It is hard enough when the backline really could not stop anyone, but to be that unaware — at that juncture — was terrible.

Raum was not the not the only weak link on the backline, however. They were all bad and the midfield offered zero stability. It was a horrible effort to say the least. I will say, I didn’t hate what I saw from Marius Wolf in the two games, though. There might be something there to build on.

Germany’s attack took a while to get going

If you are a fan of errant passes, rushed decisions, and overall sloppy attacking play, boy, do we have a team for you!

Hansi Flick’s attack really offered no help to the porous defense. There was no sustained possession, no dynamic movement, and no urgency early in the match. It was a very Joachim Löw circa 2019-2020 look and feel.

Hint: That’s not a compliment.

Again, it did get better. There was more focus and a drive to score in the second half. With some luck (and some better play), Germany could have walked out the victors.

Füllkrug continues to impress

Niclas Füllkrug is really the one player who seems to be taking advantage of every situation. You can say what you want about Füllkrug, but he has been Germany’s best player since the World Cup.

It is the weirdest situation because Füllkrug was essentially an afterthought at this time last year, but now I would have trouble finding a way to keep out of the starting XI. I’d say that until Germany finds someone that beats him out, you have to pencil him into the starting XI.

More energy and focus in the second half

Germany was better in the second much better. I’m not saying it was great by any means, but it was good enough to provide a little hope. If only the Germans would have started the match with the same kind of intensity and focus.

It ultimately led to Serge Gnabry scoring a goal in the 87th minute, but in the end it was not enough.

This was...disappointing

After a lackluster victory over Peru, Germany laid a major egg in the first half against Belgium. The rampant sloppiness and lack of attention to detail is not something that German teams would normally be associated with, but here we are.

As much as Flick was dynamite with Bayern Munich (and also when he initially took over Germany), his development of this Germany group is lacking. However, these are all players for major clubs who are underperforming, too. They also have to be accountable for playing poorly.

Whatever Flick’s goal was for these two games with the scaled back (in terms of established talent) players, I hope he achieved it. I hope that he got the info he needed on the young players and that his experimentation with the 4-2-2-2 gave him what he was looking for. At a minimum, the data gathered and the film analysis should help the coaching staff decide how to best move forward with the roster and tactics.

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