Football is a simple result sport – and yet it can be so complicated. The German national team remains undefeated for twelve games. The flame in the nation’s supposedly last campfire seems to be getting bigger again. Opponents Spain have not won three times in a row and are criticized at home. Everything is prepared for a duel on equal terms.
And then comes the Spanish wrecking ball and in 90 minutes it destroys everything that has been arduously built up since the 2018 World Cup – or not.
The DFB-Elf lost 6-0 in Seville. A result like a slap in the face, the last time there was such a debacle was against Austria in 1931.
The view has not only been moving towards the 2021 European Championship since yesterday. The German team will then meet world champions France, European champions Portugal and outsiders Hungary in Munich. After the game in Spain, the question arises how the team of national coach Joachim Löw will survive against strong French players and clever Portuguese. “Now you know where you stand,” said attacker Serge Gnabry after the defeat, which will be omnipresent at least until the start of the European Championship on June 15.
The national coach will then still be called Joachim Löw. This was confirmed by DFB director Oliver Bierhoff a few minutes after the final whistle on ARD. That is an understandable decision. Anyone who decides to tackle a change with the tried and tested coach should not give in after a defeat – even if such a mercilessly inferior 0: 6 would have kink potential. The right time for a separation from Löw would have been after the preliminary round at the World Cup in Russia. In addition, there is currently no trainer available who would bring the necessary lobby with him.
Kimmich alone won’t fix it
Rather, after this bankruptcy, which could have been much higher, we have to talk about the players and their quality. Sure, there were a few professionals missing, but from this group only Joshua Kimmich has the status of an undisputed regular player. In midfield and attack in particular, things are hardly better at the moment, with only Kimmich missing from the FC Bayern Munich block. The Champions League winner is the ultimate in club football, but is also worn by Robert Lewandowski (Poland), David Alaba (Austria) or Kingsley Coman (France).
Spain had been perfectly prepared by coach Luis Enrique. Furia Roja was out for possession, stood very tall, pressed across the entire field, was aggressive and switched quickly. This switch was also on Löw’s match plan, but never came into play. Ilkay Gündogan, Leon Goretzka and Toni Kroos were overrun in midfield, were not able to break free from the fury’s grip in any phase and did not manage to stage the fast German strikers. The invisible Kroos brought each of his 43 passes to his teammate, but he played 41 of them across or back. In a team that is so under pressure, that doesn’t help.
The biggest problem in the national team, however, remains the defense. The previous games – despite the success – had already shown that. This applies to the inside as well as the full-back. But on the outside the problem is deeper and will hardly be solved until the EM. Regardless of who Löw puts up, he only gets half of what makes up this position: Either offensive strength (Philipp Max, Robin Gosens) or solid defense work (Marcel Halstenberg, Matthias Ginter, Thilo Kehrer). The egg-laying wool milk sow could most likely be Kimmich on the right side, but he is needed in midfield.
Hummels and Müller become the topic
It will be difficult months for Löw and Bierhoff. The national team is struggling with a loss of importance for which these two are primarily responsible. In this respect, this 0: 6 can also be a chance. Now it is no longer possible to hide behind the 2018 World Cup. It is a misconception that spectators turn away permanently because they once messed up a tournament. In the past few years there have been a number of decisions and processes that make identification difficult.
But back to the sporty side. Doesn’t Löw have to bring Mats Hummels and Thomas Müller back after this downgrading, which also came about because all the players gave in to their fate? Two veterans who are known for communicating a lot and loudly on the pitch. Or would the national coach make things much worse with such a decision, because he puts two alpha animals in a team that can be found?
After the defeat in Spain, the sporting value of Hummels and Müller should be more important than ever. There were good reasons for it being sorted out a year and a half ago. Since then, both of them – not to be suspected by Löw – have made huge leaps in performance and are again among the best players in their positions in the Bundesliga.
Actually, Löw can no longer ignore the two world champions from 2014. The next nomination is due in March.