Germany - Macedonia

Europe: WC Qualification Europe
Germany İ. Gündoğan (Pen. 63)
Schauinsland-Reisen-Arena1-2
Macedonia G. Pandev (45), E. Elmas (85)
LineupReview

Hoeneß questions Löw's tactical shift, speaks on Müller, Hummels, and Boateng

By Peter Vice

The post-mortem following Wednesday evening's historic defeat continued on German broadcaster RTL after the match. 

German footballing legend Uli Hoeneß, who made his debut as a pundit for the channel during this international break, initially declared himself "speechless" after the result. 

To the surprise of no one, he managed to find some words relatively quickly. 

Uli Hoeness.
Uli Hoeness.Photo: Sven Mandel / CC-BY-SA-4.0

Germany's reliable supplier of blunt footballing talk took a little while to get rolling after the German national team dropped a significant match in their final non-friendly game before contesting this summer's European Championship "Group of Death." 


Questions concerning Joachim Löw's tactical set-up kicked him off. After winning two World Cup Qualifying fixtures with the same back-four, the Bundestrainer opted for a odd set-up that swing Matthias Ginter out to right-back opposite Robin Gosens. Emré Can, who had been occupying Gosens' left-back position, moved inward to pair with Antonio Rüdiger. 

"I don't understand why you change such a successful system after two games," Hoeneß remarked, "I wouldn't have changed it like that." 

Joshua Kimmich retained his role as the midfield general, presumably able to work from a libero position if the exposed center-halves needed additional assistance. Somehow it didn't quite work. Kimmich appeared to feel an overt obligation toward the sputtering offense.

Unlike in the previous two fixtures, Serge Gnabry did not serve as a centralized target forward. Instead, he and Leroy Sané gravitated toward the wings while Kai Havertz appeared to function as a false-nine. 

"If you can't score up front, one at least has to be secure at the back," the 69-year-old continued, "but defensively we were very open, especially in the center. Both [Macedonian] goals came from there." 


Hoeneß' colleagues had more questions for him. Naturally, the elephant in the room had to be the former Bayern executive's thoughts on the potential return of two the current FCB board member's players. Hoeneß worked in an implicit endorsement for Mats Hummels when asked about Jerome Boateng and Thomas Müller.

"I can't say it often enough that I believe Thomas Müller belongs there," he emphasized, "he's someone who always finds the right way into the opponent's five-meter space and carries the team along with him. You can always use him." 

"Boateng I would not select right now," he continued, "We have enough back there, especially if Hummels comes back. I liked [the work] of Antonio Rüdiger, for example." 

Hoeneß took care to note that he did not consider the defeat "the end of the world."

The match does constitute the end of competitive play until the German Nationalmannschaft kicks off against current World Champions France on June 15th during this summer's delayed "Euro 2020".

At present, the DFB-XI have one pre-tournament friendly scheduled against Latvia on June 7th. It can be anticipated that the FA will schedule at least two more test matches within the next few weeks. 


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