Hansi Flick lost his unbeaten record as coach and Germany lost their perfect record playing in Leipzig as Hungary produced a shock 1-0 win that will leave the Bundestrainer with a lot to think about heading into the World Cup. Here we look at five takeaways from Friday’s match.
1. Germany’s lack of attacking thrust is worrying.
The woes that are affecting Bayern Munich at the moment seem to be affecting the national side as well. There was a distinct lack of cutting edge for Germany against Hungary and aside from a Leroy Sané chance five minutes after the break and a blocked volley from Joshua Kimmich, all the other chances of any note fell to the visitors. At least Bayern are creating chances to miss, the Germans tonight didn’t even really do that.
There was more urgency in the second 45 minutes, but nobody could unlock the Magyar’s tight defence. Aside from the 5-2 win over Italy, goals have been in short supply for Germany, and this will be a very worrying development for the coach to ponder. Timo Werner had little service but did fluff the one chance that came his way. The search for a traditional goalscoring striker goes on.
2. Hungary made it very difficult
Credit must go to Hungary and their coach Marco Rossie for the way they set up and their game plan. They played with high pressure on the ball when out of possession and their high intensity often led to German errors and a turnover of the ball.
They closed the space down, playing a back four and five midfielders in front when defending deep. Germany were unable to play their way through. They were not as intense during the second half but still defended resolutely and had two great chances through Laszlo Kleinheisler and Martin Adam. It was a highly effective performance, which showed that their 4-0 victory over England was no fluke.
3. The Hofmann at right back plan didn’t work.
The decision to play Jonas Hofmann in an unfamiliar right back position didn’t pay dividends and will probably go in the file of ‘things tried, but not to be tried again.’ He was pinned back in the first half on defensive duties by the impressive debutant Milos Kerkez and hardly had an opportunity to get forward. Bringing on the versatile Thilo Kehrer in the second 45 minutes improved the situation, but Hofmann was wasted at right back.
4. The second half tactical switch improved the situation
While Hansi Flick will be highly disappointed and very frustrated by the result, he will take a modicum of consolation that the second half switch in formation brought about an improvement.
He switched from back four 4-2-3-1 formation to a back three 3-4-3 with Thilo Kehrer playing in defence with Niklas Süle and Antonio Rüdiger, with David Raum and Hofmann pushing wide. There was more urgency from Germany although a tiring Hungary side also contributed to the upturn in the home side’s outlook.
5. Adam Szalai’s retirement party is going well
Having announced his retirement from international football after the Nations League fixtures this week, Hungarian captain Adam Szalai capped a fine display with the stunning goal that downed the Germans. Getting ahead of his marker Thomas Müller at the near post he somehow managed a back-heeled half volley into the opposite corner.
All he needs now is to score the winner against Italy on Monday to seal a place in the Finals tournament. Surely, he would make an exception and retire a little late than planned.
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