5 Things Germany Must Fix to Start Winning Games Again
We all thought the group stage elimination of the defending World Cup champions was as low as it could get for Germany on the international stage. But there seems to be no stopping Die Mannschaft's fall from the once-lofty heights of consistent domination in games and tournaments.
Many felt giving coach Joachim Low a new contract until 2022 just before the World Cup was a huge mistake in hindsight. And more are of the opinion that he should have been dispensed with following their humiliating defeats to Mexico and South Korea in Russia.
In their last five competitive fixtures, Germany have taken 107 shots and only scored twice! A 3-0 loss to an exciting, young, up-and-coming Netherlands side only further proved the notion that Low may not be the right man for the resurrection after all.
With just a single point from two UEFA Nations League games and a visit to World Cup champions France to come, what do they need to fix?
#1 Address the lack of creativity in midfield
When Mesut Ozil "retired" from the national team citing claims of racism and disrespect, it left a huge void in the middle of the park to fill for Low. The Arsenal midfielder didn't even meet the German coach when he was recently in London and it doesn't look like he will be making a return anytime soon either.
Many had said Ozil's absence would see a more compact team, pointing to his lack of interest in the defensive aspects of the game but this German side has been exposed time and again - regardless of Ozil's presence.
Against the Netherlands, Low surprisingly picked Joshua Kimmich in midfield alongside Emre Can and Toni Kroos. While Kimmich did a handy job of circulating the ball, the burden of creativity in the final third fell on Kroos.
The Real Madrid man, who usually plays deeper in the all-whites, was thrust further forward to make an impact and find the three forwards. But it was actually left-back Jonas Hector that created the most chances for the side.
Without a no.10 in the middle of the park, Germany were devoid of any real creativity. While they were able to advance the ball forward quite easily, it was the final pass or pre-assist that was really lacking in the final third.
Even at the World Cup, it was Ozil's vision and passes that made all the difference between a half-chance and a clear-cut chance where they were more likely to score.