5 Things that the German National Team lacks right now
In 2014, Die Mannschaft won their first football World Cup in 24 years when they beat Argentina 1-0 in a gruelling extra time encounter in Africa. Mario Goetze scored a winner in extra time to beat the Lionel Messi led side to immortalize the German team in the history books.
2018, however, saw another footballing curse come true, as the same World Cup winning side Germany crashed out of the World Cup in the group stages. The curse repeated itself after the same fate for Spain in 2014 and Italy in 2010.
After such a disappointing period this June, the German National Team played their first International Game against recently crowned World Champions France last week in their opener of the newly introduced UEFA Nation's League. The game ended in a draw, and while Kylian Mbappe, Lucas Hernandez and Co. showed their prowess, Germany lacked lustre.
It is a fact that it will take some time for the 2014 Champions to come back on track, but there may be some hindrances which could delay their glory. Let's look at some of them!
#1 Lack of an Explosive Striker
For the past decade, Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez have been at the helm of the German attack, and surely have been far explosive for the opposition, having won a World Cup and multiple Bundesliga titles with Bayern, between them.
Both of them now retired, Germany faces a big issue about their attack. Back in 2014, when Thomas Muller bagged almost half a dozen goals for Germany in the World Cup, everyone was very sure that Germany had got their next Klose. But having played extremely diverse roles in the Bayern Munich team and the presence of Lewandowski has turned Muller into a mere False Nine.
Joachim Low has four years from right now to find an explosive striker for Germany and should try out young blood like Kevin Volland and Davie Selke who have proved their worth at the U-21 levels.
#2 Non-exposure to German players away from Bundesliga
Comparing the squads of other top Footballing nations like Italy, Spain and France, most of these nation's football players get enough exposure out of their homeland in the English Premier League, the La Liga, The Ligue 1 and the Serie A. But, around 80% of the German National team squad plays in the Bundesliga.
This might be a big hindrance, as it is a fact that the Bundesliga is not as competitive as the Premier League or the La Liga. This makes the German players stay in their comfort zone and restricts their capabilities.
Recently many players in the likes of Toni Kroos, Leroy Sane, Antonio Rudiger are playing in leagues away from the Bundesliga, and this should be encouraged so that players can get exposed to more competitive football and can go beyond their capabilities.
#3 Over-Reliance on Individual Talent
While every team depended on individual talent back in 2014, Germany boasted of a talented team on a whole. But the times have changed, and the departures of Legends have left the German squad to over-rely on individual talents in the likes of Toni Kroos, Manual Neuer and to some extent, Thomas Muller.
This totally contrasts the way Germany plays. Germany plays possession-based football which requires an equal contribution from each player on the field, including the stopper. And over-reliance on individual talent is not getting the Germans far, in International tournaments.
Either the over-reliance on individual skills need to be curbed or else there needs to be a change in the style of play which has a difficult probability, considering the values Joachim Low has built his team on. Low has got some tactical work to do.
#4 Too much Possession based Football
There were times when people would turn to the edges of their seats when they expected Germany to go on a counter, and there are the current times when even a counter-attack turns into a back pass to the defenders and that gives the opposition enough time to get back in shape.
If Germany wants to adapt to the new modern era football that is being played, they need to play some attacking football and not just keep the possession of the ball. Possession only guarantees dictating the tempo of the game but doesn't guarantee goals, especially if the opposition has a disciplined defensive organisation.
Germany need to adapt to a combination of possession based and attacking football if they really want to stand a chance against oppositions like France, England, Brazil and Spain.
#5 Ridiculous Player Relations
Mesut Ozil was brandished as a traitor when post the 2018 World Cup his photos with Turkish President Erdogan emerged. This led to a nationwide German hatred for Ozil and led to his retirement from International Football.
It was a fact that Ozil's World Cup performance was far below his abilities but it was also a proven fact that the whole German side were in shambles, so putting the blame on one player and brewing so much hatred was a move where the nation went wrong. Also, at his prime, Ozil is a player who can tear defences apart thanks to his god gifted vision.
Now that Ozil's gone, there are other players who were criticized like Ozil for their off-field life like Gundogan, who have a long way to go for the German team, and such players should be given time and appreciated for their play on the field, instead of criticisms of their lives away from football.
Apart from this, when such things happen, the squad and the staff needs to stick close and not let it affect their football.
There is a long way to go for Die Mannschaft, but once a champion, always a champion, they are expected to bounce back as hard as their recent fall.