France – Germany: Some reasons for optimism for Germany, despite loss to World Champions France (2-1)
Joachim Löw surprised with a new system that outplayed the World Champions in their own stadium. After an early lead for Germany, Didier Deschamps’ adjustments brought France back in the game and, with some fortune, France managed to win the game. Despite the defeat, however, there are finally reasons to be optimistic about Germany.
Stepping into the World Champions den, facing the risk of relegation, all narratives pointed to the final nail in the coffin for Joachim Löw. What we saw instead was, perhaps, the first game of a new Germany. Löw switched to a 5-2-3 formation and to a considerably younger XI than the one that lost in Amsterdam.
Matthias Ginter, Niklas Süle and Mats Hummels made up the back three, Thilo Kehrer and Nico Schulz played as wing-backs. Joshua Kimmich and Toni Kroos formed the double pivot and Leroy Sané, Timo Werner and Serge Gnabry were fielded as a pacey and dynamic front trio.
Kehrer, Schulz and Gnabry had only two starts for the national team between them before this game. Thomas Müller was left out only for the second time in an official game, excluding injuries, since the Euro 2016 qualifying, which just goes to show how new and fresh this German side felt.
In a team that has just won the World Cup, there is no need to drastically change things. France kept to the ‘’never change a winning team’’ motto and started with the XI that brought success at the World Cup, with the exception of Presnel Kimpembe playing instead of the injured Samuel Umtiti.
Germany building up, France in . . .