DFB team in the individual review
Two goals that turn everything upside down

By Stephan Uersfeld

Against North Macedonia there was no goal in the first half. Timo Werner is just very unlucky. Then the knot bursts. First with the DFB-Elf and later with Werner. A Bayern star falls in midfield and the head of the team is finally back.

It just works under Hansi Flick. Games that would have ended 1: 1 under Joachim Löw in the last few years are suddenly won easily and deservedly by the national team 4: 0. As the first team in the world to qualify for the major world tournament in Qatar next year. There is now an early bird discount with Qatar Airways. Against North Macedonia, the DFB-Elf, which nobody calls “The Team” any more, simply put pressure on until the goal fell. With the first attack of the second half. It takes as long as it takes.

“You saw again today what mentality was on the pitch. Of course not everything worked 100 percent, of course there was a lack of precision. But you still have to say: We have never let up”, analyzed national coach Flick the game and as a precaution warned all countries that have not yet qualified for Qatar. He said: “With this mentality, a lot can be done.” These players demonstrated mentality in Skopje:

Manuel Neuer: Had little to do, as was to be expected. If so, then he was there. As in the attempt by Eljif Elmas (26th), who scored the decisive goal in March. Otherwise also played along. Was challenged again by Thilo Kehrer. Unlike Marc-André ter Stegen, conceded no goal against North Macedonia. Recently announced that he would like to play for many years to come. This is not good news for Barcelona goalkeeper ter Stegen, who has already had most of his future behind him.

Lukas Klostermann: Was planned by Hansi Flick for the remaining defense. Jonas Hofmann had neglected that against Romania. However, since Flick did not want to play with two very offensive full-backs, the Gladbacher disappeared on the bench with a lot of praise. And the Leipziger fulfilled this task more than solidly. Straddled, caught balls, and passed them on. His long passes almost all reached the destination and he was noticeable for his inconspicuousness. Became a little less attentive towards the back.

Niklas Süle: Was not always oriented at opposing corners. Once let Darko Velkovski out of his sight. He tried his heel tricks up front and tried his deep runs into the opposing half again. There he looked a little helpless. However, in the absence of Antonio Rüdiger, who “had a back”, the Munich man has established himself as a very solid defense chief.

Thilo Kehrer: Süle marched, Raum flanked, and Kehrer cleaned and blocked. Under Flick, defender of Paris St. Germain is set for the time being. If you want to swirl over the left side, it is ready in the middle. Checked Neuer (48th) with a complicated pass. One of his tackles went nowhere. At the very end. But Schalke star Darko Churlinov put the ball over the goal.

David room: Hansi Flick described the 23-year-old from Hoffenheim as a German offensive hope before the game. “The post should go on the left,” said the national coach at RTL. Raum then tried everything. With a few problems at first. In their few switching situations, the North Macedonians repeatedly pushed into the spaces behind the room. The starting eleven took time. But knew that Kehrer had a cleaner next to him. Bringing strong crosses into the box. Prepare chances for Werner (26th) and Gnabry (30th). But also brought a lot of not so strong crosses into the box. In total he came to ten. Already allowed to take free kicks. Could develop into a flick player, even if he doesn’t have the pace of Alphonso Davies. The Canadian had interpreted this position at Bayern under Flick outstandingly. But is Canadian.

Kimmich not only fought against North Macedonia, but also against a laser pointer.

(Foto: picture alliance/dpa)

Joshua Kimmich: No longer a captain. But still dynamic. Had the first chance (2nd), but goalkeeper Stole Dimitrevski got his hands on the header from an acute angle. Was poisonous, as they say, worked forward, structured the game, and intervened when he had to intervene. I kept falling between the defenses. Made friends in the first half at their own corners with an annoying laser pointer from the ranks of the North Macedonian fans. That didn’t bother him. In a head-to-head duel with Boban Nikolov, he made RTL expert Lothar Matthäus happy. His gestures were reminiscent of Matthäus’ legendary Mimimi conversation with Andreas Möller. In the build-up of the game, however, he was not without errors. That is less important against North Macedonia. But other opponents will come.

Leon Goretzka: Played a lot of great passes early on. On Werner and Havertz, so he caused chaos in the penalty area. Vanished briefly. Was removed from the game by the North Macedonians. At the break he had just 32 ball contacts to Kimmich’s 66th fell significantly. Was consequently replaced early. His replacement: Florian Wirtz (from 61): He stood on Werner in the middle of the penalty area and helped the Chelsea striker to get his brace. Had 27 ball contacts and one assist in 30 minutes of play, played two important passes and is nothing more than the future of German football.

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Serge Gnabry played a sensational pass, but sometimes forgot the ball.

(Photo: picture alliance / GES / Marvin Ibo G? Ng? R)

Serge Gnabry: Deflected scoring chance from the side (17th), another scoring chance from distance after 25th minutes. Always semi-dangerous in the first half. Damaged a counter-attack (30th) by being faster than the ball. Looked a little undecided, did not let himself down. Dragged a lot of balls. But it was very special when he saw the place behind the chain before the 1-0 and played vertically on Müller. Afterwards I liked being a game designer with long passports. However, that is not necessarily its strong point. Except before the 1-0. Was allowed to leave after 71 minutes. For him came Jonas Hofmann (from 71st): In the 20 minutes it didn’t fall up or down. The big question remains: Will Flick continue the Hofmann experiment as a right-back or will it break off?

Thomas Müller: Before the game, the battle for the “ten” had been declared. What nonsense. Because Germany needs Müller and Reus too. When both accept their role. Müller is the head of the team, Reus a valuable addition, because he is just as experienced. Müller bustled around a lot. Conquered balls. He climbed strongly once, conquered a few balls in counter-pressing and saved his best moment for the second half. Picked up Gnabry’s sensational passport, ran a few meters and put down on the Havertz that had run along with it. Not a Müller moment, but a very good one. That came before the 2-0. Mullerte jumping the ball into the air to Werner. Technically demanding, entertaining to watch. Only he can do that. Müller’s strange demo days under Löw will forever remain a mystery. He’s Flick’s extended arm on the field. He no longer has to play 90 minutes and was consequently replaced shortly before the end. For him came Florian Neuhaus (from 80): Experienced a difficult phase in the club and in the national team. Called for the ball in his ten minutes of play, but lost touch a little.

Kai Havertz: As requested by Flick, it was directly variable. Appeared on the left, lifted the ball once across the defense on Kimmich. From there caused danger. Havertz is a damn elegant player who can shine with his grandeur when he wants to. Wanted often. Occasionally used the half-spaces and enabled Müller and Gnabry to constantly change positions. Sometimes they accepted and sometimes they didn’t. As a result, Havertz was increasingly on the room side again. From there he achieved the well-deserved lead after a counterattack. Played a good no-look pass. But if he picked up an unnecessary yellow card shortly afterwards, he will be suspended for the next game. Left the field after an hour. His replacement: Karim Adeyemi (ab 61.): Should have scored after 76 minutes, but his direct pick sailed over the gate. Catched a ball, switched quickly, put the ball on Musiala. The met. The brief appearance did not damage its market value.

Timo Werner: Made the first contact with the ball. Played the ball on Kimmich. The fans of the North Macedonians whistled, but they were happy to do that anyway. Once stood wide-eyed in the penalty area. That evening everything was planned for another round of Werner bashing. “It has to roll off,” said the Chelsea striker later. Then he had shot his frustration from the soul. Five hits in five missions under Flick, who sticks to him and may be rewarded for it. “I need this trust from outside, it gives me 100 percent,” said Werner. Broke the spell. Wasn’t Depp of the Day, but suddenly Man of the Match. After his wonderful trick to make it 3-0, he was allowed to take a seat on the bench. For him came Jamal Musiala (ab 74.): He picked up where Werner left off. Germany’s next world footballer, says his youth coach, scored his first international goal and turned an ordinary win into an extraordinary one with a 4-0 win. Youngest goalscorer in the DFB-Elf for over 100 years.

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