Euro 2020 Qualifiers, Germany 2-4 Netherlands: 5 Talking Points and Tactical Analysis
Netherlands thrashed Germany 4-2 in a Euro 2020 qualifier at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg.
The visitors started the more confident of the two and immediately imposed their passing game. However, the hosts struck against the run of play in the ninth minute through Serge Gnabry.
Germany had a few more opportunities to double their advantage but they failed to do so as the Oranje only trailed 1-0 at the break.
After the restart, Frenkie De Jong got Netherlands going with a 59th-minute equaliser. Seven minutes later, Jonathan Tah bundled the ball into his own net to hand the away side the advantage.
However, Toni Kroos levelled things up from the penalty spot in the 73rd minute when Matthijs De Ligt was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the box.
Yet, the joy was short-lived for the hosts as Donyell Malen made the net bulge in the 79th minute.
The home side pushed for a leveller in the dying stages but that left gaps at the back. Netherlands took full toll and killed the game off in stoppage time courtesy Georginio Wijnaldum.
Here is a look at the talking points from the game:
#5 Germany and Netherlands serve up an intense tactical battle in the first half
Joachim Low decided to field a back three and opted for Matthias Ginter, Niklas Sule and Tah as his centre-back trio. Lukas Klosterman and Nico Schulz were entrusted with manning the flanks while Joshua Kimmich was paired alongside Kroos in the heart of midfield.
Upfront, Gnabry, Marco Reus and Timo Werner were preferred with the hosts looking to infuse their forward line with pace.
Netherlands, meanwhile, stuck to their tried and tested 4-3-3 system and deployed 10 of the 11 players that had featured in the UEFA Nations League final against Portugal in June.
Thus, at the outset, the Germans had signalled their intentions to sit deep, cede possession to the Dutch and then hit the visitors on the break.
The above worked a charm when the hosts broke through the away side’s defensive line. Klosterman was found expertly by Kimmich and the wing-back proceeded towards goal before firing a tame effort at the goalkeeper.
However, Gnabry was alert enough to pounce on the rebound and make the net ripple.
The same trend continued throughout the half as Netherlands increasingly looked for openings in the offensive third but were thwarted by Germany’s deep line.
In response, the Oranje tried to push one of their three central midfielders further to carve an opening.
Germany responded by dropping Kimmich a little deeper and that allowed one of the front three to complement Kroos in the middle third, thereby offering an extra passing outlet under pressure.
Moreover, the home side’s deep defensive line nullified the Dutch forwards’ pace threat and that forced the Oranje to go hunting for a goal. Consequently, they left a few more gaps at the back but the hosts were unable to exploit the aforementioned weakness.
Over the years, Germany and Netherlands have immersed themselves in some titanic encounters, with goals galore.
However, on Friday, that particular aspect failed to come to the fore in the opening 45 minutes.
Yet, courtesy the myriad strategies both sides deployed, the first half was extremely high on the tactical quotient.