Solo striker or no striker?
Posted by Radu M. Pandea
Posted in Football
World Cup 2014 Brazil – Germany Qualification Preview
September 7 – After another disappointment at the Euro 2012, Germany comes back to the drawing board, starting the qualifiers for the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. The Faroe Islands won’t scare anyone on FIFA’s second ranked team but the current striker situation, will for sure frighten some fans and maybe even Joachim Löw.
With Mario Gomez injured, Die Mannschaft is left with only one striker which has confirmed for the team, the only one who actually received the call-up. Miroslav Klose might be already 34 but he remains the most reliable option for Germany’s national team, no other striker managing to get a vote of confidence from the head coach. With Cacau being out of the starting 11 at Stuttgart, Patrick Helmes also on the injury list and Stefan Kießling not a favourite of Löw, Germany’s choices are really limited and this should sound a big alarm.
A tough reality that can be observed in the Bundesliga is that the majority of the teams are not relying on German strikers anymore. Just by taking a look at the last matchday of the top flight, you could see that there are very few teams starting with players that could be in the attention of Joachim Löw.
Editor’s Note: Talking Fussball will review the first two qualification matches for Germany with a special edition on Thursday, September 13th. Follow @sporteagletv on Twitter to find out when the gang is back with the best analysis from Germany!
Bayer Leverkusen, SC Freiburg, 1899 Hoffenheim, Eintracht Frankfurt, Fortuna Düsseldorf and Hannover being the teams which remain devoted to the national cause. Having such big needs in this department, this number of teams is quite low, especially as it’s missing almost all of the team currently qualified in European cup competitions. Of course, Löw could have given a chance to some of the young players doing well in these teams, like Kevin Volland, Max Kruse or Arthur Sobiech, but to be fair, they also need to establish themselves a bit more in the league.
This “crisis” could be though transformed into a positive, as for sure the head-coach will be tempted to develop the Spanish invented system of playing with no real strikers, with one offensive midfielder as a “fake striker”. The friendly against Argentina could have been a rehearsal of this system but, the sending off of Ron Robert Zieler was enough to change the plans and put Germany in a situation of trying to avoid a heavy defeat.
Facing the Faroe Islands, it could be a good time to try this system, with Thomas Müller, Mario Götze, Marco Reus or Andre Schürrle as possible options to become the Jolly Joker of the team. This should be a real test game for the offensive options of Germany, as next Tuesday there’s a big test expected against a rising national team, neighbour Austria.
As for the rest of the team, Jögi has no real worries, even if Bastian Schweinsteiger is missing from the squad, options being quite good with Ilkay Gündogan, Lars Bender or even Toni Kroos, any of them receiving for sure a good helping hand from the already experienced Sami Khedira. The defensive line-up is pretty much the same, even stronger with the comeback of Per Mertesaker, although it is to be expected that he will not take a spot in the first squad yet. In goal Die Mannschaft has a luxury problem, having so many good goalkeepers to choose from, even if Manuel Neuer is clearly the top choice.
Although Germany hasn’t won very convincingly the previous two games against the Faroe Islands, it’s not an overstatement to say that they won’t have a problem in getting a three-point start of their campaign, but the lessons that can be taken from this game could help the team shape up for future battles, as a new dimension to the play has to be implemented sooner or later.
This Group C of the qualifying stage for the World Cup is no easy task even for a big team like Germany and this game in Hannover should be a good rehearsal before the tough games against Austria, Ireland and Sweden.