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September 21, 2020


UEFA Nations League: Germany let lead slip again to draw in Switzerland

Sep 07, 2020

Germany let a lead slip for the second time in four days as they failed to hit top form in Switzerland. Joachim Löw’s side struggled to create in Basel and still await their first win in the Nations League.

In the end, it could — and probably should — have been worse for Germany. Just like against Spain on Thursday, Löw’s side couldn’t build on their advantage, with a lack of creativity and cutting edge the missing ingredients for this second-string Germany team.

There were defensive concerns too.

While they're billed as competitive fixtures, these Nations League games are mainly a chance for Löw to evaluate which of his peripheral players might be able to complement his options when his A-Listers return.

Robin Gosens is probably the biggest individual winner following his first two games for Germany, which saw him fit in seamlessly to an attacking left-back role and offer Löw a genuine alternative to RB Leipzig's Marcel Halstenburg on the left side.

Beyond Gosens though, the likes of PSG pair Julian Draxler and Thilo Kehrer did little in the two games to convince Löw to promote them to his favoured XI. Leroy Sane was also a long way off his best, although he is still returning to fitness following a lengthy lay-off. Nonetheless, these two games have served mainly as a reminder that Germany cannot do without the likes of Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry and Manuel Neuer.

And both results, while far from disastrous, will do little to quell talk of a recall for the exiled Thomas Müller.

As on Thursday, Germany scored the first goal in Basel. This time Ilkay Gündogan’s silky strike broke the deadlock, as the Manchester City midfielder's precise first-time shot found the bottom corner after Matthias Ginter’s persistence was rewarded with the assist.

Germany showed greater hunger to close out this game than their previous one, but again, they let the lead slip. Niklas Süle, still feeling his way back to sharpness after a serious knee injury, looked sluggish against Switzerland’s sharp lone striker Haris Seferovic, who hit a post and was the hosts‘ main goal threat. Süle was eventually withdrawn.

The deserved equalizer came from an unlikely source though. Swiss right-back Silvan Widmer met Breel Embolo’s direct run and cross, and struck a sweet shot into the bottom corner. Bernd Leno, making his first Germany appearance in almost three years, was powerless to stop it — but Germany’s defense could have done more. Switzerland carved out enough further chances to feel like they should have won it.

With so many key players missing it’s hard to read too much into two disjointed displays. However, Löw will be quietly disappointed that more of his fringe players didn’t make a greater impression.


Last modified on Wednesday, 09 September 2020 11:30
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