Germany vs. Chile: 6 Things We Learned
It was another troubling night for Joachim Loew and his reputation as a successful German coach, as his national side just about stumbled to victory against Chile in a 1-0 win in Stuttgart on Wednesday.
The scoreline was just about the only thing that could be considered a victory. The home side began the game on the back foot and either seemed content or couldn't do anything about the domination from the South American side.
Of course, Chile are by no means a minor side on the international scene, but this match was one that German fans and critics alike had looked forward to in the hope of seeing the next stage of Loew's plans.
This German side have huge expectations to live up to in this summer's World Cup, yet with every passing game, it seems as though the task is getting more unmanageable with this current coach in charge.
Here's what we took from Wednesday's game.
Loew Continues to Search for New Defensive Options
Despite Germany's narrow victory, it was another match in which Loew's side showed no experience or quality in front of Manuel Neuer's goal. The hosts should have at least conceded two or three goals, and that's something that will worry any fan for the coming tournament in Brazil.
Yes, we saw a team lineup that included less experienced faces at the back, such as Kevin Grosskreutz and Marcell Jansen. Regardless, with Jerome Boateng and Per Mertesacker at the centre of the back four, we should have seen a more polished display on Wednesday.
Germany's main problem is still their simple inability to defend.
Chile Fail to Take Advantage of Opportunities
If one aspect of this game was even more staggering than Chile's own domination, it was their failure to score from the chances they so readily created against the German defence.
According to WhoScored, Alexis Sanchez and company managed 17 shots. That's a remarkable amount in comparison to Germany's seven. However, they only managed to get six on target, with one smacking off the crossbar.
That's an incredible lack of fortune in a game where they performed so well.
Loew Follows Bayern Lead with Lahm in Midfield
Perhaps one of the main reasons for Germany's issues at the back was that star full-back Philipp Lahm was again moved into the midfield to accompany Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Lahm does not play that role at Bayern Munich, but only because the Bundesliga club can afford to replace him. With Grosskreutz drafted in due to the lack of any other genuine contenders, the national team simply can't.
Germany Strike Through Proven Attack
If there was one aspect to Germany's game that could have received passing marks, it was the front line, which offered plenty on the rare occasion that the ball wasn't in the Germany box.
Mesut Ozil looked back to his best at times as he shuffled across the Chilean back line with the same indirect style of play that made him such a great footballer. His partner in crime, Mario Gotze, worked off the Arsenal player with near-perfect synchronisation—with the only goal exemplifying what could be, if only Loew got his tactics right.
It was a bad day at the office for Germany but a welcome performance from these two quality players.
Chile Still Heaped in Bielsa Football
Although Jorge Sampaoli is a distinguished manager in his own right and has done fantastic things since taking over at Chile, the Argentinian coach is a self-described fan of former coach Marcelo Bielsa, and it shows throughout this team.
From attacking full-back Mauricio Isla and box-to-box midfielder Arturo Vidal to the attacking sensation of Barcelona's Sanchez, Chile chose to defend against Germany by attacking with absolutely no fear. It was a commendable move straight from the tactics book of everyone's favourite Argentinian coach.
Loew's Tactics Failed to Control the Game
While Sampaoli will receive all the plaudits for tactics that may not be entirely his, the manner in which Germany seemed to completely capitulate on Wednesday were unquestionably due to the tactics of their own coach.
From the reshuffled and ultimately unprepared defensive back line, the untested and unmanaged midfield of Schweinsteiger and Lahm to ineffective striker Miroslav Klose's failure to offer anything up front, Loew will feel the brunt of this performance—not because of his players' lack of desire or the incentive to do so, but because he failed to set them up to deal with a Chilean side that show no secrecy in the way they start or play each game.