The final game of the international break is upon us, and Germany need a win. After lackluster performances against both Ukraine and Poland, former Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick needs to turn it around or else there will be serious questions about his management of the team.
Right now, it’s extremely unclear how Germany will pull itself out of this hole. Let’s see what Flick has to work with.
Doubts are being raised in both the fanbase and the media about Hansi Flick’s stewardship of the national team. We discussed this and more in our podcast, which you can listen to below (or on Spotify, if you prefer):
In terms of the lineup, Ilkay Gundogan is back and set to start after sitting out the first two friendlies — he may provide a much-needed boost to the languishing German midfield. Meanwhile Malick Thiaw, who did an excellent job against Poland, is set to reprise his role in the starting lineup.
Flick says he will stick with the back three, which has yet to show any real results in the break so far. Against Colombia, we may see a front three of Niclas Fullkrug, Jamal Musiala, and Florian Wirtz, with the latter two potentially replaced by Leroy Sane or Kai Havertz. The attack has been a sore sport for Germany in this break, so Flick needs a setup that can actually find the back of the net. Against Poland, the Germans got close, but never close enough — though credit should also go to the heroics of keeper Wojciech Szczęsny.
In midfield, Gundogan may start next to Joshua Kimmich, heralding a more control-oriented midfield pairing that may help the Germans keep possession better. Alternatively, we may see Kimmich shifted out wide to the right-back spot, with Gundo pairing up with either Emre Can or Leon Goretzka.
The defense is expected to remain largely unchanged. Robin Gosens should come in at left-back, while we may see Benjamin Henrichs start once again but at right-back. Thiaw, Antonio Rudiger, and Thilo Kehrer could round out the back three, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal.
Here’s a potential lineup:
Of course, Flick has plenty of other options in the backline and wingback positions. Don’t expect the above graphic to be 100% accurate to what we see on the pitch.
Is Hansi saying that things will change in September? No more back threes then? Can we be so lucky?
Flick: "We want to continue on this path. The team also has to implement it. They must try to win the game. But in September everything will look very different. We'll analyze and then we'll see a team that should get the success we want at the Euros."— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) June 19, 2023
Unfortunately, given the “positives” Flick saw in the performance vs Poland, we might not see major changes any time soon.