UEFA Euro 2020 will now be played in the summer of 2021 due to the effects of coronavirus. The global pandemic has presented an opportunity for some, though, with Marco Reus and Niklas Süle among those shaking off injuries. How will Germany line up when it kicks off?
Germany qualified for the tournament – which will be hosted, in part, at Bayern Munich‘s Allianz Arena – in fine style. Joachim Löw’s side finished top of Group C ahead of the Netherlands after winning seven of their eight games to the tune of 30 goals scored set against just seven conceded.
Although Löw had initially flirted with a 3-4-3 system in the aftermath of Die Mannschaft’s premature exit from the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, his side closed out their European qualifying campaign using a rather more familiar-looking 4-2-3-1. Their lone loss was against the Dutch last September, when the coach last used a three-man defence. Reverting to a back four, Germany’s last four games were won with an aggregate score of 15-1.
Bayern centre-back Niklas Süle should have a full season under his belt before next summer’s competition. – DFL
It’s safe to say that Germany’s best possible XI slots neatly into such a system. Over the course of qualifying, recent Bayern acquisition Leroy Sane – then at Manchester City – and Borussia Dortmund captain Reus shared playing time mostly due to injuries. Over the course of qualifying, either would complete a potent front three with Timo Werner and Sane’s new club-mate Serge Gnabry, who top-scored with eight goals. All four fit and firing is sure to make any opposition manager quiver at the prospect of trying to shut them down.
Germany can afford such an attack because anchoring the team is arguably the best double-pivot in world football: Toni Kroos and Joshua Kimmich. Kroos was pass-master general of the great Real Madrid team who won three consecutive UEFA Champions Leagues between 2016 and 2018. He has completed 2,086 passes domestically this season – a league-high among La Liga midfielders. Kimmich may have spent the first two years of his international career looking like Philipp Lahm‘s successor at right-back, but he is now catching up with Kroos in central midfield, successful with 92 percent of his passes from that position for Bayern this term. The above might look top-heavy, but who is going to outscore Werner, Sane, Reus and Gnabry if they can’t touch the ball?
Joshua Kimmich (l.) is emerging from Toni Kroos’s (r.) shadows as a genuinely word-class midfielder himself. – imago images / Sven Simon
At the back, Werner’s former RB Leipzig colleagues Lukas Klostermann and Marcel Halstenberg have the flanks covered – the former giving Kimmich’s shift into midfield another upside, the steam engine up the right that he is. In between them, successors to Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng – think Robin Koch – might have looked a touch raw had the Finals rolled around this summer. A fully fit Süle alongside Matthias Ginter is 53 combined caps…