Well, I called it on the pod. Every game gets worse. I predicted a loss against Colombia, and marked Luis Díaz as the danger man. Germany lost to Colombia, and Díaz got the breakthrough. What a depressing state of affairs.
Where was the defense?
The back three of Emre Can (Borussia Dortmund), Malick Thiaw (AC Milan) and Antonio Rüdiger (Real Madrid) was poor once again on the ball, and this time that effect was compounded with so many lapses off the ball. Multiple times Colombia had time and space in the final third, and got 1v2 and 1v3 situations on the counter. A tragic performance off the ball paired with what has become the usual lack of anything acceptable on the ball. No proper plan in build-up, just boot the ball upfield to Chelsea FC’s Kai Havertz.
Wo ist das Mittelfeld?
The midfield pivot of İlkay Gündoğan (Manchester City) and Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich) had no idea what to do in the game. Facing Colombia’s own double pivot, Gündoğan’s presence between the lines made him nothing but a burden, which combined with Goretzka’s failure to create chances from deep created a complete absence of penetration through Colombia’s defense. The only bright spot was Bayern’s Jamal Musiala, whose individual brilliance was the only thing that ever broke the lock on Colombia’s doors.
¿Dónde está el juego ancho?
Failing to make chances through the middle forced Germany to take play wide, where Robin Gosens (Inter Milan) on the left, and earlier Marius Wolf (Dortmund), later Benjamin Henrichs (RB Leipzig) were present. This was completely unsuccessful as the wing backs never got past their wide defenders, and when they used players in the half-spaces to link up, they wouldn’t receive the ball back due to poor positioning. No return at all from wide areas. Even when the wing backs found space to cross, there was either no one to pass to or the cross was just awful. The only bright spot was Gosens’ defensive contributions in the absence of any positional competence from the centre backs.
Où est l’attaque?
By far the biggest issue today was Germany’s complete disjointedness in attack. The only time Germany ever looked dangerous during the first hour of the game was when Bayern teammates Jamal Musiala and Leroy Sané managed to find each other on the pitch. The attack was completely disjointed, there was literally no plan, and that wasn’t any more evident than in the movements of Kai Havertz, who constantly moved into positions akin to a creator while playing up front. It was clear how much better Germany attacked with Werder Bremen striker Niclas Füllkrug on the pitch, but even then the attack was just disconnected pieces rather than pieces in harmony.
On top of everything, the one thing Hansi Flick always got right was pressing, but this team was completely slack in that regard. I have never seen a German team that just doesn’t press at all, but this team was that. Throughout the 90’, never at any point did the Colombian defense feel the presence of a German attacker pressing them. Tragic.
Ready for more fallout from the game? Chuck is here to take us all on a tour of sadness in this International Friendly Rant edition of the BPW Postgame Show. Short, sweet, and bitter all at once: you need to give this a listen. Find it on Spotify or use the player below:
And while you’re at it, please throw a vote our way for the 2023 Best Club Podcast Award at WorldSoccerTalk! As always, we appreciate all your support!