Football column: Ox defense, Bayern midfield and Volland – so Löw has to rebuild

In the midfield, columnist Martin Volkmar relies on the Bayern trio of Kimmich, Goretzka and Müller.

The German national team did not convince either individually or tactically in the preliminary round of the European Championship. Time for a big change with new players and different roles. The football column.

In my comment on the German performance against Hungary, I accused Jogi Löw of stubbornness and asked the national coach to act.

Then a user wrote: “Dear SPOX team, just show us how you think we should play.”

And since we take the feedback from our readers seriously, this text is about the (absolutely subjective) opinion of how the DFB selection in the round of 16 should play against England next Tuesday at London’s Wembley Stadium.

A clear plea for a return to the back four and a system that almost all the players in the squad know inside out from their clubs: the 4-3-3.

The system: back to 4-3-3!

Manuel Neuer is set, although so far it has not been the German captain’s tournament. In the 2: 2 against Hungary he failed on the second goal by running out unnecessarily and too late, and he was not yet able to parry an “untenable” one.

It speaks for itself that the kicker The Bayern goalkeeper does not even list the twelve best goalkeepers in the preliminary round. Nevertheless, there is no reason to exchange the long-standing support, especially since there is no real alternative due to the injury to Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

“Offense wins games, defense wins championships” – should this old team sport wisdom also apply to this European Championship, there really is cause for great concern. Because so far the DFB team has already received five opposing goals. Only once in the last 50 years have there been as many goals conceded in a preliminary round of a major tournament: In the preliminary round knockout at the EM 2000.

You have to go back to these dark times during Erich Ribbeck’s brief tenure in order to find a similarly error-prone and insecure DFB defense over a longer period of time.

Already in the eight international matches in 2020, the team had to accept 16 goals. “However, it remains questionable for me whether this defensive performance can make the big hit,” said Bielefeld coach Frank Kramer, who worked with Löw from 2016 to 2019 as the coach of the German U18, U19 and U20 at the DFB kicker.

At Sane’s expense, Joshua Kimmich was able to return to his favorite position on the 6 against Hungary and once again proved how important he is there as a defensive breakwater and combative organizer. Therefore, the experiment on the right wing, which was only successful against Portugal, should be ended.

“You can tell that Kimmich doesn’t feel right in the game on the side, a completely different dynamic can develop in the center,” said former national coach Berti Vogts Rheinische Post: “And against England a defensively thinking man in the head office is certainly good.”

Defense: “Ox defense” 2.0

Then the already ailing Ilkay Gündogan would be out and for Toni Kroos the performance principle should apply despite his many years of service. A bank seat for the Real Star would, however, be tantamount to an earthquake in the DFB hierarchy and is therefore unlikely. Nevertheless, it would be a better option to put Thomas Müller in 10th place with all the freedom, as he did with FC Bayern.

“Joshua Kimmich plays the vertical balls into the depths, Leon Goretzka runs the runs in the penalty area and Thomas Müller organizes the team – for me this midfield has the quality to set accents against all teams,” said Lothar Matthäus Sky.

If you take the performance against Hungary as a yardstick, Sane, the even weaker Serge Gnabry and, especially with a system change, Robin Gosens should get a break. Kai Havertz, on the other hand, was one of the better German offensives in the previous tournament and has to play again from the start.