Austria – Germany 2:1 or the Opponent was Never Better

football, game strategy, Germany

It looked like test game with Austria in Klagenfurt will be CANCELED due to a heavy rain and hail outpouring. Terrible storms interspersed with unusually hot weather for the end of May/beginning of June were also in Berlin and many parts of Germany. The Czech referees went a couple of times walking through soaked pitch and testing the balls that wouldn’t roll.

But this game had to be played there and then, not only because of 29,200 local spectators but as it was an exam for 4 players that will be crossed out from the list for the 23 players to be announced to FIFA.

Mario Götze and Sandro Wagner were already missing from the training camp in South Tyrol, as Wagner in dispute with national coach Jogi Löw ruled himself out. Their places were taken by Jonathan Tah (who? Bayer 04 Leverkusen) and Nils Petersen, the latest addition to the team from Freiburg, 2nd best scorer in Bundesliga season 2017-18!

With 2 hours delay, nevertheless, the game started at 7:40pm.
The result 2:1 for Austria, their first win after 32 years.

German odds, currently 5.5-6 (Brazil 5, France 7) may go even lower. But maybe they can win against Saudi Arabia in the last test-game on Friday, 8th June in Leverkusen, home of Bayer 04 Bundesliga club.

It is interesting how the players were chosen for this exam game.

Formation 4-2-3-1
The defence was never changed
Neuer
Hector – Rüdiger – Süle – Kimmich

but all the starting midfield (2):
Gündogan – Khedira

and the attack (3-1) were on exam:
Sané – Özil – Brandt
Petersen

	Then from 46'
Gündogan - Rudy
Sané - Özil - Brandt
Petersen

	Then from 56'
Goretzka - Rudy
Sané - Özil - Brandt
Petersen

	Then another ~10 min later, from 67'
Goretzka - Rudy
Reus - Özil - Werner
Petersen

	Then another ~10 min later, from 76'
Goretzka - Rudy
Reus - Draxler - Werner
Gomez

So the midfield/attack started with:
Gündogan – Khedira
Sané – Özil – Brandt
Petersen

and ended up with:
Goretzka – Rudy
Reus – Draxler – Werner
Gomez

This is an incredible pattern – 5 line-ups, except that the 1st attack played 67min and the last only 14min. Chain-changing 5 midfield/attack lineups scored 0 (ZERO) goals??!! Meanwhile Austrians scored twice – goals that Germans would wish they did, as both came through zig-zag combinatorial outplaying the German defence, with especially equalizer by Martin Hinteregger as masterpiece volley on the pass from corner kick by Alaba.

masterpiece volleyEqualizer by M.Hinteregger – masterpiece volley from a very sharp angle

As there was excitement for Manoel Neuer playing again after 8 months injury, (probably being safeguarded by his own club Bayern for a debut in the national team match) it should be noted that he could have saved Hinteregger’s shot. Reconvalescent Neuer maybe not but fit No.1 should have saved that goal.

Löw’s comments were that too many balls were lost and that “we were too sloppy in our game going forward”. There were never comments that the opponents were better, that Austrians outplayed them in their own game-style. This defeat showed that German defence is cumbersome and slow, while there was no middle row and attack whatsoever in spite of 5 lineups. The truth is this team is not “sloppy” but un-coordinated, those players do not play well together in none of artificially made 5 lineups.

       So on Monday (4/6/18) noon we learned that Sané (in the Premier League Best XI) and Petersen (best German scorer! in Bundesliga season 2017-18) did NOT pass the Russia exam because they don’t play together, none of those 5 setups play together, so two successful attackers are out, while bunch of midfielders and defence players remained on the list. So maybe, players “who have been playing for Germany forever, who are leading players”: Kroos and Müller may give the necessary boast to the team which in 3 last test matches scored only 2 goals.

Cancelled were also Bernd Leno goalkeeper and J.Tah (both from Bayer 04 Leverkusen !?, where the national team goes for the last test match against Saudi Arabia). Leverkusen football fans probably won’t be very enthusiastic about this decision.

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