Germany Lacking Attacking Verve

Germany lack variety in their star-studded attack and have yet to demonstrate their credentials as one of the tournament favourites, writes Ian Watson.

Last Updated: 23/06/14 at 08:28 Post Comment

Latest Articles

Reasons To Feel Positive At Spurs...

Post comment

They didn't complete any big deals on deadline day, but that doesn't mean Spurs fans should be down about their hopes this season. Plus, United fans say farewelbz...

F365's Top Ten Transfer Window Winners

25 comments

After a long old summer there are plenty of gloomy fans around at the close of the transfer window. Daniel Storey has a top ten to try and focus on the positives...

All Articles

No one can doubt the class of Miroslav Klose after he equalled the World Cup goalscoring record but, after two matches of his fourth finals, his Germany side are yet to demonstrate that they have all the qualities required in Brazil to earn a fourth star above the eagle on their chests.

Joachim Low's side started with a 4-0 win over a 10-man Portugal side who failed to test their European rivals after Pepe's lunacy left them a man short. Ghana, though, ran Die Nationalmannschaft much closer, with Klose required off the bench to rescue a 2-2 draw, with his side drifting through their second Group G game, rarely moving out of second gear as they eased towards their fourth point.

The 30-degree heat and high humidity in Fortaleza may have contributed to their lethargy, or perhaps their tradition of struggling on matchday two weighed on their weary minds. Germany have won only one of their second matches in the group stage in the previous five finals, with a defeat to Serbia in 2010 making them sweat over a second round place in South Africa. Per Mertesacker acknowledged that "warning" ahead of the Ghana clash, but they failed to heed it and still could have suffered the same fate had their opponents' decision making been better in the final third.

The talk in Germany ahead of the finals was that it was now or never. Not necessarily for this team, but for Low, despite the fact he has a contract to 2016. But the coach should take credit after this draw for making a crucial double substitution at 2-1 down which reaped almost immediate reward. Bastian Schweinsteiger was introduced with Klose and within a minute, the former helped win the corner from which the latter netted the leveller - on the night and for the record alongside Ronaldo.

Low's side, like Brazil and Argentina, may be seeking to peak at the appropriate time but, on Saturday, they were almost made to pay for their sluggishness by Ghana, who knew defeat would mean going out at the group stage - well short of their last-four target.

Germany were unchanged in a 4-3-3, which Low has recently tweaked from the 4-2-3-1 which has served them well. Perhaps the switch in formation is why they are yet to really discover their attacking fluency, which may come after they iron out the kinks through the group stage.

But what was noticeable about Germany is a lack of width. Mesut Ozil and Mario Gotze will both drift inside towards Thomas Muller, while Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos, who flank Philipp Lahm a little deeper in midfield, also tend to look inwards.

With so many centrally-minded players in midfield and attack, space would tend to open up for full-backs to provide attacking width. But Benedikt Howedes and Jerome Boateng - both centre-backs by trade - are either reluctant to get forward or instructed not to.

Low presumably recognised the problem and his first substitution was key in Germany's opening goal. Former Everton reserve Shkodran Mustafi replaced Boateng on the right, and it was his overlapping burst which created the space for Muller to deliver a cross into the space he vacated for Gotze to bundle home.

Unfortunately for Low, Mustafi's presence was also crucial in Ghana's equaliser, with the Sampdoria defender beaten in the air by Andre Ayew, who gave up four inches in height to his marker. Boateng would probably not have been beaten quite so easily, but nor would he have bombed up the line to help open up the space for Germany's opener.

Low's attack is blessed with incredible technicians, with Ozil and Gotze both more than capable of beating a man. That was not a feature against Ghana, though. Germany attempted just four take-ons in the final third with only one successful. They recorded 10 take-ons overall, with four of the five attempts taking place in the centre circle.

Germany's struggle to beat Ghana in one-on-one situations allowed Kwesi Appiah's side to retain their shape, forcing the Germans to pass through them. Ghana remained compact, and denied Ozil, Kroos and Co any angles for penetrating passes and the opportunity to play in behind defenders.

If Germany are to progress through the tournament, they have to avoid falling into the same trap as home-bound Spain, who struggled to break down sides who denied them the time and space to pass though defensive lines. Low has developed a system which makes them hard to beat while accommodating the big names but more variety in attack will be required when the tournament moves into the knockout stages.

Ian Watson - follow him on Twitter

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

E

ven if United were to sign CR7 & Messi to play upfront, the fact remains Fletcher and Cleverly are playing in midfield. That's where the problem is. Fletcher is too slow with an awful pass, while Cleverly is simply rubbish

mrunited4life
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

T

hese days, these days, you can't say something racist without somebody saying that you're a racist.

tk421
'Wrong' Views Not Silenced By Shouting...

D

rop Rooney (he's so disappointing, overrated and overpaid), and play Di Maria and RVP upfront, much like the set up at the Netherlands team with Roben and RVP...

eric bush3
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Transfer news: Fernando Torres felt he had to leave Chelsea after Diego Costa joined

Fernando Torres admits he knew his time at Chelsea was up when they signed Diego Costa.

Premier League: Marcos Rojo took Juan Sebastian Veron's advice about Manchester United

Marcos Rojo says he spoke with fellow Argentinian, Juan Sebastian Veron, before deciding to sign for Manchester United.

Sky Bet League 1: Darren Ferguson, Graham Alexander, Steve Cotterill and Paul Cook up for award

Darren Ferguson, Graham Alexander, Steve Cotterill and Paul Cook are the nominees for the Manager of the Month award.

Mail Box

Reasons To Feel Positive At Spurs...

They didn't complete any big deals on deadline day, but that doesn't mean Spurs fans should be down about their hopes this season. Plus, United fans say farewelbz...

Danny Welbeck - Yes, No And Maybe

And understandably busy Mailbox with the instant reactions with those happy and sad on their club's transfer dealings. On Welbeck, Arsenal, United, Spurs and loans...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property