Following a comfortable win over Peru, Germany suffered a 2-3 defeat on home soil against Belgium. Hansi Flick’s men grew into the game after a shaky start, but were ultimately left undone by the Red Devil’s prowess on counter-attacks. Here are the match awards from tonight’s friendly:
Jersey Swap: Kevin De Bruyne
Manchester City’s De Bruyne was involved in all three of Belgium’s goals and deservedly walks out as tonight’s best player on the pitch. The attacking midfielder often succeeded in exploiting gaps in and around the hosts’ defense, while he was also instrumental in unsettling Bayern Munich star Joshua Kimmich and helping the Belgians disrupt Germany’s build-up play. As the creative force for Domenico Tedesco’s team, De Bruyne showed what Die Nationalmannschaft were missing in their attack.
Der Kaiser: No one
There were no standout performers from Germany’s defense tonight. Center-backs Thilo Kehrer and Matthias Ginter failed to keep up with Romelu Lukaku’s darting movements, while the Belgians also targeted the space vacated by Marius Wolf and David Raum. Both of Germany’s full-backs offered little creativity in attack and could deliver only two successful crosses from a combined ten attempts. It was a discouraging display from the German back four and Flick will certainly have to work on improving his defense’s structure and coordination.
Fußballgott: Emre Can
Although he had to replace an injured Leon Goretzka, Emre Can’s introduction provided Germany with much-needed stability and control. The Borussia Dortmund man was comfortable dictating the tempo and his presence as defensive-midfielder instantly took some pressure off of Kimmich, allowing the Deutschland captain to roam more freely upfield. Moreover, the 29-year-old put in commendable defensive work as Germany’s “last man” in the dying minutes of the match.
Der Bomber: Serge Gnabry
It wasn’t Gnabry’s best game but the Bayern Munich winger gets the award for best German attacker after an industrious performance. Where the likes of Timo Werner and Florian Wirtz failed to assert themselves during the game, Gnabry was the only player who was trying to make things happen in the final-third. The 27-year old was always looking to get into dangerous positions inside the penalty area and he ultimately succeeded at getting on the scoresheet in the 87th minute.
Meister of the Match: Thomas Müller
Hansi Flick can experiment with different formations and different combinations of attackers before next year’s Euros. And Germany may boast some of the brightest attacking-midfield talents in Kai Havertz, Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala. But tonight’s match should serve as another reminder that Thomas Müller’s role in the heart of Bayern Munich and Germany’s attack remains undisputed.
Although their performance improved over the course of the match, Germany’s movements in the final third were often static, with the final balls lacking precision. Despite having Werner and Felix Nmecha on the field, striker Niclas Füllkrug was often isolated and the team’s overall attacking structure was in desperate need of guidance. All of these issues can be corrected by having Müller on the pitch. For now, Flick may continue giving young players a chance to get acclimatized to the national team. However, the former Bayern coach can unlock the true potential of his side by letting Müller and Füllkrug spearhead the German attack.