Fifteen years performing at the highest level provides a coach of a national team loads of sporting capital. For instance, enough to survive a World Cup first-round exit and relegation from the Nations League. It also provided Joachim Low to make bold moves which he did when Germany made their way to the Netherlands during the 2020 Euro qualifiers.
Joachim Low’s System
Having already dropped Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels, and Jerome Boateng, Low decided to draw a 3-4-1-2 system that featured two wingers, including Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane, masquerading as forwards, while the forward runs of Leon Goretzka offered the heft from the number 10 position along with the creativity from Toni Kroos and Joshua Kimmich in midfield. It’s a system that seemed reasonable in theory but required field-testing that doesn’t exist when it comes to international matches.
Having already been defeated 3-0 by the Netherlands in October 2018, it was a massive call from Low. Fortunately, it paid off. Gnabry and Sane provided the Dutch with no reference points, and they assisted with a 2-0 lead for Germany, before the Dutch managed to tie the game at 2-2. Thankfully, Nico Schulz eventually obtained a winner during the final moments for Germany whose forward runs were devastating down the left for most of the game.
You are left to wonder whether we will see this scheme again frequently from Germany. The Gnabry-Sane partnership matched up well while playing against the back four of the Dutch because the defenders of Koeman’s team lacked the athleticism to successfully counter the pair as the midfield were more focused on creating as opposed to destroying. However, if they face an opponent with more defence, the lack of a central striker can be problematic.
It’s also worth mentioning that although Germany seemed reasonable during the first half of the match, Ryan Babel produced two phenomenal chances that needed some Manuel Neuer excellence to stop them. Therefore, Germany is still considered a work in progress at the moment, but it’s quite encouraging to witness how Low is making bold moves to win games.
Great Effort from the Netherlands
As for the Netherlands, kudos for the effort. Matthijs De Light might be two years removed from his debut for the national team, but he is only 19 years old. To see this young talent stumble and then recover with a brilliant goal along with some impressive defensive work during the second half of the game is evidence that processes the right stuff. The young footballer has the stigmata of a not too distant future captain.
Praise can also be given to Memphis Depay. Even though he isn’t as prolific as he was last season, he showcased yet again that he can produce game-changing results. If De Jong and