France has triumphed over Germany yet again. However, there were some positives to take from the game. Through the first half of the UEFA Nations League game, Germany controlled much of the pace and possession. Their newly utilized formation offered a much more solid defense against France’s quick counter attacks. This is because a 3-4-3 formation transitions into a 5-2-3 in defense, which allowed Germany to better thwart the counter attacks that have been troubling them in recent games.
Early in the first half Germany was awarded a questionable handball penalty which allowed them to take a 1-0 lead when Toni Kroos converted. However, once the second half rolled around France’s Antoine Griezmann scored a miraculous header which opened up the game. After that, the French National Team was awarded a penalty that would have surely been reversed in VAR. Griezmann converted and France held on for their 2-1 lead.
Germany can not blame the loss solely on the penalty award though as they attempted 11 shots and only managed to get three on goal. This continues a troubling trend of Germany. They lack composure in the final third. There is no clinical finisher on Germany’s roster and striker Timo Werner is not a target man. This means that all of Germany’s crosses into the box result in nothing except a turnover. In addition, on defense, they allowed too many shots with France shooting 14. Fortunately, they did do well in limiting extremely dangerous scoring opportunities like the ones the back line was exposed by in Amsterdam.
Keep experimenting with formations
Germany trying a 3-4-3 was a smart move by Jogi Low. He doesn’t change formation often, but he saw that his back line was a weakness and at least attempted to address it. Maybe Low would have gone with a different formation had some more choices been available for selection as Marco Reus and others were held out of this international break.
Try a 4-3-1-2
A formation that could bring success for Germany is a 4-3-1-2. This formation allows for very effective link-up play and the two strikers create space for each other in the middle of the field. One of Germany’s main issues has been that they are unable to break through the middle of their opponent’s back line. The use of one of the strikers as a false 9 in the 4-3-1-2 means that it is much easier to separate the center backs and open up space between them. This allows for through balls to advancing midfielders through the back line and also opens up lanes for the more direct forward. This would perfectly suit Germany who has a perfect false 9 in Thomas Muller and a field-stretching striker in Timo Werner.
The attacking midfielder position is the most important spot is in this formation. That is because much of the play channels through them, they will be able to take many shots from drop off passes or runs into space and will help to direct the play into dangerous areas. At this point, Marco Reus is Germany’s best goal scorer. Using him as the 10 ensures Germany of high danger chances every game. If Reus had to be played on the flank with Leroy Sane two other candidates for this position are young Kai Havertz or Leon Goretzka who were also injured during this international break. Either would provide a spark of creativity that is needed by Die Mannschaft.
Adapt to today’s soccer
Germany simply must adapt to soccer the way it is played now. They do not necessarily have to switch to a counter-attacking scheme, although that may not be a bad idea with all the young pacey players on the roster. However, Germany needs to use faster defenders if they are going to play the possession game. Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels are solid but slow. This means that they need support when matched up against fast forwards like most teams today employ. A switch towards younger and faster players like Thilo Kehrer and Antonio Rudiger could go a long way towards stopping the M’bappes of the world.
Featured image by Sky Sports
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