News : Difficult choice for Löw: Germany outnumbered in midfield – sport
The French don’t have it as good as the Mexicans. The Mexicans watched a test match of the German national team in March 2018 and they knew almost everything afterwards. You had a clear idea of how the Germans would play at the World Cup in Russia in June, they already suspected who would play, and of course they knew why: because the coach of the Germans, Joachim Löw, only had this one plan. He wanted possession football, and he wanted it with these staff. The Mexicans had almost three months to come up with a plan that would help them defeat the Germans 1-0 in their first World Cup game. The Germans were very surprised afterwards, the Mexicans were not.
The French will also take a closer look when the German national team now contests their three World Cup qualifiers against Iceland (March 25), in Romania (March 28) and against North Macedonia (March 31) at the end of March, but whether these impressions turn out to be a battle plan for the European Championship opening game on June 15? Rather not. Because this time the coach of the Germans, Joachim Löw, has no plan himself, or, to put it more nicely, maybe there are two or three different plans that he still has to examine. The Corona break put his team in a kind of year-round sleep in 2020, neither new knowledge could be gained nor learned, and so Löw now has to live with the fact that he and his team suddenly wake up again in qualifying operations for the 2022 World Cup – a tournament , for which Löw will no longer be responsible. He should actually play a team for the last tournament for which he is still responsible – the EM 2021, which is officially still called EM 2020. Löw should now urgently try out the compact five-man defensive chain that he favored at the European Championship opener against France; but against Iceland, Romania and North Macedonia, a back four is enough for him, which gives him one more man for his midfield.
It’s all very complicated.
The coaches of the German opponents have to accept for the time being that not even the German coach exactly knows the staff with whom he will soon be moving into this tournament. Löw has not yet decided whether to restart Thomas Müller and Mats Hummels, and there is nothing easy about this decision either: As a guy, he would most likely need Thomas Müller, but exactly where the guy likes to play is Löw’s team exceptionally well occupied.
It is already clear that Löw will urgently need the determination that he is claiming for himself. It is precisely where his eleven are supposedly doing best, the greatest danger of making a mistake that would make a decisive difference to the tournament. Löw’s midfield invites the competition to envy and resentment, but whether that will remain a luxury or a luxury problem remains to be seen. Löw will have to be in tip-top shape to control this excess. In the midfield center three or, in the case of a five-man defense, even only two places are available, and the trick will be to distribute these three regular places to the four indispensable regular players Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Toni Kroos and Ilkay Gündogan – and if Thomas Müller adds, Löw has five players for three places.
And that each of the five simply gets 0.6 regular places at the end, and then it works out? Hm. It’s going to be difficult.
At the moment, Gündogan is perhaps the most formidable midfielder in Europe
There are various, mutually competing arguments that Löw has to sort out and put in the right order for himself. At the latest after the 0: 6 in Spain, when Joshua Kimmich was missing, the national coach should be aware that he needs the Munich will athlete in midfield, even if Löw demonstratively did not rule out a relocation of Kimmich to the right defensive side on Wednesday. It is also undisputed that Kimmich absolutely needs Leon Goretzka by his side; the pumping double six is the heart of FC Bayern.
There is also little doubt that every team in the world needs Toni Kroos, the coolest player under the sun, whose aura as a 1,000-time Champions League winner makes every opponent whisper. And of course nobody denies that you should have the best player from the best team in the best league if you are lucky enough to have him in your squad. Ilkay Gündogan has become a completely new player at Manchester City at the age of 30, Pep Guardiola occupies him more offensively than ever before, and almost every attack pulls him into the penalty area. Löw has long known that Gündogan is “an extremely good strategist”, but meanwhile “his goals also speak for him”. He has already scored 16 times this season, a striker value. At the moment Gündogan is perhaps the most formidable midfielder in Europe, and of course he has to play too.
So do without Müller after all?
Anyone who has seen and heard Müller at the 4-0 win against VfB Stuttgart at the weekend will withdraw this question, because only Müller has what this national team urgently needs: He is the most adult Müller that has ever existed, and at the same time he has one rediscovered childlike passion that makes it an event. Müller is like the entertainer in the holiday club who does “beach volleyball at 1 p.m.” yells when the holidaymakers are just about to sleep away on their loungers. Müller alone ran away from the Munich team after being sent off against Alphonso Davies at the weekend and yelled away.
In the three March games, Jogi Löw will be spared a preliminary decision, Toni Kroos left with muscular problems. The national coach will have no choice but to postpone playing a midfield formation to the training camp in Seefeld, but the end of May is a dangerous date. On May 29, the Champions League final will take place at the same time, maybe Kimmich, Goretzka and Müller (or Gündogan) will be on duty. Maybe then they’ll play against Real Madrid and Toni Kroos. Maybe you will also play against FC Chelsea with the young German midfielder Kai Havertz, who, by the way, would also like to have one of the three midfield places.