Day 5: There’s no need to teach an old dog new tricks
Goals galore cap off the best day of the World Cup so far
Germany 6 - Morocco 0
Germany headed into this World Cup in concerning form, having lost 3-2 to Zambia and only narrowly beaten Vietnam 2-1. If there were any concerns, this comprehensive win over Morocco would have been a tonic, with the WAFCON runners up on paper being about the same level as the teams Germany had struggled against in their warm up matches.
Like seemingly everyone else at this World Cup, Germany have been forced to make adjustments as a result of injuries, but also like everyone else, their manager’s hand has not been forced in terms of who she has picked. The choice to use Svenja Huth at right-back ahead of someone like Sophia Kleinherne is a prime example of this.
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As Huth is nominally an attacking player, her usage seems to be based on allowing for a significant number of rotations in build-up for Germany. That has only been exacerbated by Lena Oberdorf’s injury with Sara Däbritz and Melanie Leupolz being used as a double pivot - although again given the more like for like switches of Lena Lattwein or Sjoeke Nüsken, this again is a choice.
At points, Germany would just pivot into a back three with Huth pushing up, like we have seen a number of teams do in build-up this World Cup. But also, occasionally, Sara Däbritz would drop in as a centre-back or right-back. Jule Brand would tuck in as an 8 to facilitate this with Huth again moving up the pitch. All of these rotations gave the Germans considerable flexibility and left Huth not looking much like a right-back at all.
Ironically in the end, it was less the clever interchange at the back and more Alex Popp’s head that helped Germany put up such a comprehensive score. They scored six of their seven shots on target; a masterclass in attacking efficiency or potentially luck?
The return of Lena Oberdorf might make this build-up less fluid, although obviously Oberdorf is more than equipped to drop in at centre-back. Regardless, these rotations seem set in Voss-Tecklenberg’s game plan. The gaps they form then will be a concern. Morocco were not short on counter-attacking opportunities in this game, even if the linesman’s flag spared some German blushes. Do Germany have time to play this more complicated style without being exposed? There is only one way to find out.
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