The time for experimenting with the German national team is over.
After a fairly positive honeymoon period in the United States in October, Germany and their new coach Julian Nagelsmann were brought back down to earth after losing 3-2 to Turkey in Berlin last Saturday evening.
During the game, Kai Havertz started at left-back and opened the scoring for Die Mannschaft. However, it wasn’t enough, and Germany were dealt another defeat as they prepare to host the European Championships next summer.
Since exiting the World Cup in Qatar, former head coach Hansi Flick was using the friendlies to experiment with formations and playing people in different positions. This included Joshua Kimmich at right-back, Nico Schlotterbeck at left-back, and so on. None of which worked.
Though Nagelsmann has only been in charge for three of these friendly games, he simply cannot afford to experiment nearly half as much as his predecessor.
Realistically, Nagelsmann will have Tuesday’s game against Austria and two dates in March for friendlies before June and the start of the competition.
The former Bayern coach needs to nail down his core players now and identify how his team are going to play during his time as manager of Die Mannschaft. If there is one thing Germany need right now, it’s stability and that comes with a clear plan and a core group of players understanding their roles.
Two key players already identified are Mats Hummels and captain İlkay Gündoğan. Nagelsmann sees Hummels as the key player in the defence and Gündoğan as the tactic mastermind in the midfield.
Other than that, there are questions all over the pitch. A clear way of playing and a positive result against Austria on Tuesday could be the first step to recovery before Euro 2024.
GGFN | Jamie Allen