Euro 2020 Qualifiers, Germany 2-4 Netherlands: 3 Reasons why Die Mannschaft lost against Ronald Koeman's men
After a disappointing UEFA Nations League campaign, Germany restarted their Euro 2020 qualification campaign against Ronald Koeman's Dutch side. Joachim Low, on the back of observing a string of defensive frailties, has adopted a compact system of three central defenders in recent games.
Manuel Neuer started the game between the sticks for Germany with Matthias Ginter, Niklas Sule, and Jonathan Tah forming the last line of defence. Lukas Klostermann and Nico Schulz were the wing-backs. Joshua Kimmich and Toni Kroos formed a two-man midfield axis.
To lead the German attack, Low deployed Serge Gnabry and Timo Werner as the two strikers, with Marco Reus operating behind them as a No.10.
The Netherlands, still fresh from Nations League final's disappointment against Portugal, was set up in a 4-3-3 system which transformed into 3-1-4-2 in possession.
Former Barcelona shot-stopper Jasper Cilissen, alongside Denzel Dumfries, Matthijs De Ligt, Virgil van Dijk, and Daley Blind formed the defence.
Giorgio Wijnaldum, Frenkie De Jong, and Marten de Roon formed the midfield engine. The front three consisted of Quincy Promes, Memphis Depay, and Ryan Babel.
Playing with a set of new tactics, Die Mannschaft found it difficult to control the game for the opening few minutes. However, Gnabry's opener settled the Germans. Despite dominating possession, Oranje found it difficult to manufacture clear-cut chances against a compact opposition.
However, Koeman's side crawled their way into the game in the second-half, where a six-minute blitzkrieg put them ahead. With the Netherlands gaining the impetus and looking to gain a two-goal cushion, a controversial penalty call on De Ligt's handball allowed the hosts to make it 2-2 through Toni Kroos.
But, the Dutch side kept pushing and sealed the game through Donyell Malen and Georginio Wijnaldum and returned home with all three points.
Without further ado, let's have a look at how Joachim Low's German side lost all three points in Hamburg.
#3 Germany's lethargic defending cost them dear against an industrious Dutch attack
Despite lining up with three at the back, Germany's foundation looked shaky whenever Netherlands' attackers pressed them. The centre-backs were unable to sustain possession due to a lack of cohesion between the midfield and defensive lines. Jonathan Tah, on various occasions during the first half, gifted the ball to the opposition, courtesy of his wayward passes.
Owing to the lack of intensity in the opening 45 minutes of Netherlands' game, Germany weren't punished for their defensive mistakes. Memphis Depay, with his strength and purpose, however kept asking questions throughout the course of the first half.
With a refreshed Oranje side gracing the second period, Die Mannschaft's midfield axis and central defenders found it difficult to circulate the ball crisply and with a quick tempo. Depay, alongside Ryan Babel and Georginio Wijnaldum, orchestrated a well-deserved comeback in Hamburg.
Wijnaldum and Babel strung a series of telling passes on the left-flank and exposed Ginter defensively. The Liverpool midfielder forced a terrific save off Manuel Neuer early in the second half. Eventually, Frenkie De Jong equalised for the Netherlands, finishing smartly after receiving the ball in an open space behind Jonathan Tah.
To make matters worse, Tah failed to clear the ball from a corner-kick which was initially won by Virgil van Dijk, aiding the visitors to gain the lead with his own-goal.
After that moment, Malen and Wijnaldum translated Netherlands' dominance into goals.