One of Germany’s brightest young stars, Bayer Leverkusen attacking midfielder Florian Wirtz, endured some growing pains on the international stage with a first half hooking by coach Hansi Flick.
Wirtz started in a role somewhere between an attacking midfielder and an inverted winger, depending on how you’d interpret Hansi Flick’s starting lineup, but rarely got on the ball. He finished with fifteen touches, five possessions lost, and no duels won (via Sofascore). The few times he did look dangerous, he wasn’t able to find a teammate with his delivery who was in position to score — though this may not be his fault alone.
Regardless, Germany looked more composed and more in control after the early change, which saw Borussia Dortmund’s Emre Can replace Bayern Munich’s Leon Goretzka (ankle) as well. Wirtz made way for Wolfsburg midfielder Felix Nmecha. But Wirtz’s substitution was entirely a coach’s decision.
“That’s how it is,” Flick said afterwards (via @iMiaSanMia). “It’s just that he didn’t have his best day. He has to go through that too. I think that will motivate him even more.”
At nineteen, Wirtz is one of the youngest players in the national team setup and just coming off an ACL tear recovery, too. His star is still bright — and if his future takes him out of Leverkusen soon, expect Germany’s biggest club, Bayern Munich, to be among the suitors.
For now, though? A slice of humble pie for the Leverkusen prodigy, and a lot of time to think over how to avoid this outcome in his next international start.