Serge Gnabry’s stellar debut highlights an otherwise uncompetitive and lacklustre thrashing of San Marino.
This match was every bit the formality you would have expected it to be. While San Marino can be proud that they held the German team to only a three-goal first half, that was also realistically the best they could have played.
San Marino were organised, but at the end of the day they were only capable of so much. Going forward, which would have taken pressure off the defense, was just about out of the question.
International fixtures are almost by nature more boring than league and European fixtures, more so when there is no tournament afoot and the gulf in quality between the two sides is indescribably large. And it was raining.
Germany could have played the first half with their eyes blindfolded and still have been able to mount a comeback in the second half to win.
Serge Gnabry: One thing a fixture like this affords Joachim Löw is the chance to play those who would maybe not factor in to a tournament should one begin in a week, but are quality players looking to prove themselves nonetheless. Gnabry’s debut was a stellar one that ended with a hattrick, including the best goal of the night on 77′ when he took a Thomas Müller pass on the volley and deposited it into the back of the net.
The Arsenal product and current Werder Bremen star (and lest we forget, rumoured Bayern target) certainly proved himself on the night as he was the most effective German player by some measure. He was always going to figure into the German squad at some point, but more nights like this and his time will come very soon.
Jonas Hector: The fullback opposite debutante Benjamin Henrichs had little in the way of defending to do and with that in mind, grabbed him a mess of goals. His two goals really should have been three or four.
Thomas Müller: Despite having a frustrating evening when it came to trying to score, Müller was the perfect build-up player who executed the final ball better than anyone else. His two assists back up that assertion.
Mario Götze: Similar to Müller, the Dortmund player was fantastic in the passing game, also getting two assists. Also goalless, he did not have the same sort of failures in front of goal because he was more withdrawn and got fewer chances to score.
Joshua Kimmich: Super game in the midfield from Kimmich. On that note, the notion of “midfield” is not exactly an easy thing to define in this match, because I’m not sure the concept of one holds under such circumstances. It’s sort of like that promotion they did a few years ago when Real Madrid played 100 kids. Fact is, traditional notions of the sport and its tactics are not that useful when you cannot compare the two sides.
Sami Khedira: Scored the opener but that is about all I can remember him doing.
İlkay Gündoğan: He picked up an assist in the second half, but a player like him will become invisible when there is not a lot of defensive work to do and not a ton of long-range passes to make.
Average (buckle up)
Kevin Volland: Scored a goal on a nice turn once the match was completely out of hand. Was a substitute and ended up playing about twenty minutes.
Benjamin Henrichs: This was his Germany debut. It was not on par with Gnabry’s, though who can blame him for that. He made a few spectacularly errant passes, but aside from that he was solid.
Max Meyer and Leon Goretzka: Both second half substitutes who did not do a single memorable thing.
Mario Gomez: One would think that a match with 8 goals in it for one side would prominently feature said side’s striker. One would think.
Mats Hummels: Not sure he was even on the pitch, though the lineup sheet has him on there.
Marc-André Ter Stegen: He may as well have played checkers with the ball kid behind the goal.