Germany boss Joachim Low has warned England not to make the mistake of believing they can play like Arsenal or Dortmund.
Low leads his men into battle against Roy Hodgson’s side on Tuesday, knowing England’s greatest threat comes through the speed of Andros Townsend, Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney in attack.
He acknowledges the counter-attack will have to be monitored by Germany but insists the brand of football played by Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal or Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund is not achievable for England, per Chris Richards of the Daily Mirror:
If you look at both Arsenal and Dortmund both of these teams are shaped in a very special way, not necessarily by English or German players, but by foreign players.
And I don't think that you should compare club and national teams, they are two different cups of tea.
Low’s inference is that England cannot attempt to transition the ball from defence to attack in the swift, slick style that Arsenal and Dortmund both achieve.
The subtle difference between that style and the orthodox counter-attack is that Arsenal and Dortmund can both transition quickly even when defences sit deep, whereas England’s success comes when opponents push forward—leaving gaps at the back.
Wenger has a midfield spine of Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil largely controlling the tempo in which his Arsenal side plays, behind the lone frontman of Olivier Giroud.
Aaron Ramsey has been a key match-winner, but he has been freed to roam forward by the build-up play of his foreign colleagues.
For Dortmund, the likes of Nuri Sahin and Henrik Mkhitaryan are now the directors of the Bundesliga side’s attack, playing off the figurehead of Robert Lewandowski. They boast key German individuals such as Ilkay Gundogan and Marco Reus but still rely heavily upon a foreign influence.
Low appears to suggest England’s current crop of players do not have the necessary nous to switch play with such a cutting edge, despite the fact the Three Lions can select Steven Gerrard and Michael Carrick when both are fit.
The key is that it takes all 10 outfield players to be on a certain wavelength, knowing exactly how to spread the pitch, in order to implement a brand of football similar to that of Arsenal and Dortmund.
Defenders must be able to spot a pass quickly, wingers must identify gaps in between defenders and strikers must be able to link play effectively.
Who plays the better football?
Hodgson likes to get the ball to his quick players as often as possible, as proven by how he used Townsend in the recent games with Montenegro and Poland.
However, England’s game is based on two organised lines of four to supply ball to the likes of Townsend who can then hurt teams with the ball at his feet.
That is what Germany will expect at Wembley, which is why England will arguably be at their most dangerous when the visitors have the ball.