From a slow start to Spanish diving in a friendly, we can draw a few lessons from the way the German national team got a workout on Friday in Düsseldorf.
The first few minutes of the game were misleading. the Germans were moving better off the ball until the Spaniards got their possession game going. As soon as that started, the Teutonic midfield applied inefficient pressure on the visitors, who circulated the ball at will.
Thus, the Germans were dominated for long spells in the first half and only got their attacking game going past 50 minutes. Aggressive long passes by Mats Hummels, Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos finally fed Timo Werner, who needed that service to test the Spanish defence.
It was only then that the game was contested.
Coming off a poor weekend performance, Mats Hummels was at least consistent. Not entirely focused on the opening goal by Spain, he was easily beaten by an Andrés Iniesta pass, keeping Rodrigo Moreno on side with his positioning.
Hummels seems to lose form as the business end of the season approaches, and we all hope this is not a sign of things to come.
When I saw Sami Khedira lined up for a central midfield position in the starting XI, I hoped that Joachim Löw had seen something that everybody had missed. Quite like when he favoured Miroslav Klose when everybody wanted to have, say, Kevin Kuranyi on board.
What I saw on the day was a guy who has lost a step. He made a couple of solid vertical passes, but he also failed at making much of a dent in the midfield. His timing was off and his contribution to the pressing game was weak.
You also have to wonder if a player is up to par when he has only won 19% of his tackles with Juventus in Serie A so far this season, according to Squawka.
Diving in a friendly
Late in the first half, Julian Draxler did not correctly time a challenge on Isco. Basically, he bumped into him. Isco put his hands in his face and fell on his knees as if he got splinched by an axe.
Who the hell does that in a friendly match? Can’t you keep those antics for the World Cup’s knockout stages?