DFB Tacticanalysis – German problems
At the 0:1 in the opening game of the World Cup, Germany did not only have a hard time on the defensive. Even the offensive was not convincing. Tactics analysis shows Mexico’s tactics worked out, the DFB-Elf found no solutions. Now national coach Joachim Löw is challenged.
Construction game: Bumblebees taken out of play
Germany did not have a surprise in store against Mexico: As usual, the backs moved forward far from their own defences, often to the level of the attacking midfielders. Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng were responsible for the initiation of the moves, with Toni Kroos also falling behind, as is usual in Real Madrid.
Mexico’s attacking players deliberately focused on Hummels and Kroos, while Boateng was hardly attacked at ball possession. El Tri feared the flat passes of Hummels more than the diagonal flank changes, for which Boateng is more responsible. Perhaps they had also speculated that the last injured Boateng would not be able to use his freedoms.
The success proved them right: Marvin Plattenhardt lived on his own lonely island on the left side. The shifting of play to the left, whether long and diagonal or over two or three stations, was too rare.
Whether things would have gone differently with Jonas Hector is questionable, after all the man from Cologne is also not known for his offensive strength. Mexico would have played similarly with him on the pitch – after all, according to coach Juan Carlos Osorio, the tactics had already been clear for six months.
Toni Kroos was simply taken into man’s cover. Where at Real he has Luka Modric, who is also an extremely strong player, and Marcelo, another playmaker on the left in the four-man chain, that wouldn’t matter any further. On Sunday Boateng had to fix it, because Khedira is not the man for the game and on top of that moved forward too often. Mesut Özil, partly in the front press line without the ball, could also hardly fall back to boost the game.
It has to be said that there wasn’t much space in the centre if you had your own ball. Mexico left a lot of room not only for Plattenhardt, who was ignored by both sides, but also Joshua Kimmich on the right.
The middle of the field was overloaded, the outward feed to the free Bayern player was accepted: On the one hand Kimmich is still a full-time defender – an Arjen Robben, for example, would never be allowed to run towards the defence – and on the other hand the profiled flank giver lacked the customers in the sixteen: A Timo Werner is a Miro Klose as fast as in the past, but by no means as strong in the head.
So Boateng as well as Khedira from time to time had a lot of space in front of them, but on the right side there was only one open play station in Kimmich. One could formally imagine Osorio at the tactical table: “We provide Hummels and Kroos and leave the combination Boateng-Kimmich free to the Germans. Flanks are okay in case of doubt, so they can’t hurt us. But if we win the ball, there’s room on the left.”
Kimmich as a scapegoat? Heavy role for Bayern-Star
For Kimmich it was not only a very difficult game for that reason. Many had identified one of the young right-back’s weakest games in the DFB dress, but it is simply impossible to follow a side from the baseline to the baseline in today’s game: if he did not push forward next to the coach’s benches in order to be playable there, he had to run behind when Özil or Müller were on the ball over the right. His position was not hara-kiri, but wanted by the national coach.
When Khedira lost the ball before the 0-1, Kimmich had just started another run into the depth and would have been promisingly open. Instead, his cross was suddenly open, Özil took his route against Lozano first too casually and then too late.
In these situations the mistake lies in the system: Because Müller is not a classic wing player, Kimmich has an incredibly high task load. But if this is so important for offensive play, there must be some protection for the right side. And it takes a plan B.
Löw’s reaction: Rather no new system
How can Joachim Löw react? It would contradict his convictions to throw the well-tried system out of the window now. Moreover, a new system or a new tactic would not be a panacea: Osorio’s chess moves have nothing to do with a lack of liveliness, 38 percent duels won in halftime one or an offside trap based on the dice principle. There is also no system that can always and everywhere provide the majority in a match between eleven and eleven.
It is more likely that Löw will only make a few changes, but will not shake the 4-2-3-1. A Leon Goretzka could give the tired midfield a new dynamic and physicality.
Marco Reus can hope for a mission right from the start: With him on the right before Kimmich, the game of the DFB team would suddenly have a completely new basic order, Müller could move to the top or act as a free radical behind it. Even Mario Gomez would be worth considering if the game simply does not offer any space for sprints by Timo Werner.