Germans need to work on open style

Marco Reus ruing yet another miss against Georgia. Though Germany won their group, they have not adapted to changes.
Marco Reus ruing yet another miss against Georgia. Though Germany won their group, they have not adapted to changes.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BERLIN • Despite the 2-1 victory over Georgia in their last qualification game on Sunday that booked their place in France, Germany are far removed from the world-beating side they were last year.

Coach Joachim Loew has changed their style of play and this is causing problems as the players have yet to adapt to it.

They had 20 chances in the first half against Georgia, but failed to convert any of them.

Loew is counting on a fundamental turnaround after their World Cup success last year.

"We always have to be aware of the trends in world football," he said soon after the tournament ended.

In Brazil, he was convinced that he could win the World Cup with pragmatism and a solid four-man defence and special roles for the two central midfielders in front of the defence.

The World Cup-winning team had both of a defensive man (Sami Khedira) and a playmaking one (Bastian Schweinsteiger) controlling the central midfield.

Up front, a lone striker was waiting in a 4-1-4-1 or 4-2-3-1 system.

It worked at the time but it was debatable whether it would stand the test of time. Now their new game is a much riskier one.

Left and right-backs (Matthias Ginte and Jonas Hector) are a vital part of the attack as are the central defenders (Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels).

The central midfield has two playmakers (Toni Kroos and Ilkay Guendogan) instead of one.

Germany are now using a 4-2-4 system without a clear spearhead up front but forwards who quickly change positions, with two - out of Thomas Mueller, Marco Reus and Andre Schuerrle - playing slightly in front of the rest of the midfield.

With that strategy, Loew is trying to gain speed and inventive solutions. That means that he wants his team to dominate the game but use the chances they get quickly.

"That is something we have to work on in the next months," said Loew said after the Georgia match.

"What we have shown in the last games is not what we regard as our standard."

He said he will not return to the 2014 World Cup style, despite the criticism in Germany about the lack of a central forward and the team not being effective enough.

The more open style is also having a detrimental effect on the defence. Players such as Reus, Mario Goetze, Mueller, Mesut Oezil, Guendogan and Kroos will have to sometimes forget about creativity but show more effectiveness in front of the goal.

"At the moment we are having problems putting away our many chances," said German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who captained the team against Georgia.

"In our training sessions we are scoring goals left, right and centre, but it is not happening when it matters. But we've got some time to adapt before the European Championship."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 13, 2015, with the headline 'Germans need to work on open style'. Print Edition | Subscribe