Again the DFB-Elf lost a victory shortly before the end. But more important than the result should be the knowledge for the national coachs that there is great potential in the second row as well. Three players particularly stood out.
“It would have needed a shot from Lukas. In the corner.” When the national coach was asked for an interview by RTL a few minutes after the final whistle, he could not help saying a brisk line to his former striker and TV expert Lukas Podolski.
The national team lost another lead, three times in a 3: 3 win against Turkey on Wednesday evening. Again, like in September against Spain, she gave up a last-minute victory that was believed to be safe. The DFB team, which started without the Bayern block, the Leipzig players as well as Toni Kroos and Timo Werner, is also without a win in the third game after the Corona break.
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The national coach was “disappointed and eaten up”, as he contrite admitted after the game. But he also emphasized: “This team, which has never played together like this, cannot be blamed. It has already happened to the other players.”
In fact, three players made their international debuts in the 183rd international match of the Löw era. One was even allowed to run from the start – and he stood out positively. But two other actors showed their skills in the newly formed team and recommended themselves for higher tasks.
These three players were the bright spots in the game against Turkey
1. Robin Koch
On October 9, 2019, ex-Freiburg’s Robin Koch made his international debut in a 2-2 draw against Argentina. Almost a year has passed since then, the national team took a good eight months off and Koch moved abroad to Leeds United.
Against Turkey, like on his debut a year ago, he was allowed to play again from the beginning – and in a meaningful role. As the central man of the game opening and and fixed point of the defense, Koch should lead the action from behind. And that succeeded the 24-year-old.
In contrast to his central defender colleagues Emre Can and Antonio Rüdiger, Koch convinced with a good overview, calmness on the ball and – perhaps the most important aspect – courageous attacks on the offensive. As a driver, Koch fulfilled the role that Mats Hummels played in the national team for years with great aplomb.
But the Leeds defender was not the only one who distinguished himself with enormous pull forward.
2. Florian Neuhaus
First nominated in September, Gladbach’s Florian Neuhaus finally made his debut in the national dress against Turkey – and was even allowed to play right from the start. But Löw, who with Jonas Hofmann and Mahmoud Dahoud later also welcomed the 109th and 110th debutants of his term in office, did not commission Neuhaus with an easy task.
As the only really defensive midfielder, Neuhaus should give the game structure from the sixth position. The 23-year-old not only accepted this task, he also filled it with life. Neuhaus demanded balls and tried to finish the goal, which the national coach also honored. “He made a good debut. He had a lot of good actions, especially when he scored the goal, where he flipped into the corner very nicely.”
Successful debut: Florian Neuhaus (r.) Celebrates his goal to make it 2-1 with Kai Havertz. (Source: Federico Gambarini / dpa)
Neuhaus himself was bothered by the award victory. “If you take the lead three times and only get one draw in the end, that’s not good. We have to sit down now, analyze and do better against Ukraine on Saturday,” he said, looking ahead towards the Nations League .
The test match against Turkey was, according to Löw, also a “platform for young players who can prove themselves here”. He certainly meant one of his attackers.
3. Luca Waldschmidt
Like Koch, Waldschmidt has a Freiburg past. Like Koch, he changed clubs in the summer and ventured abroad (to Benfica Lisbon) and like Koch, Waldschmidt was one of the positive phenomena in the test against Turkey – but not only because of his first international goal in the fourth game.
Waldschmidt had a hard time at the beginning, had little connection to the game, even if he missed the first chance of the game in the early stages. After about 15 minutes, Waldschmidt dropped more to get more play. And with success: The 24-year-old was more involved in the ball actions around the Turkish penalty area, but failed in the 41st minute with the best chance of the first half to date against the brilliantly reacting keeper Günök.
It got even better in the second half when the combination game with fellow men Julian Brandt and Kai Havertz worked better. Waldschmidt had his shares in the game both in the beautiful combination before Neuhaus’ 2: 1 and in his supposedly victorious 3: 2. He noticeably revived the offensive game in the absence of Timo Werner, Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sané.
“Actually it was a good game for us, but we have to play it to the end more consistently. It shouldn’t happen to us that we end up with a draw,” said Waldschmidt.
Gnabry and Werner questionable
On Saturday, the DFB team in Ukraine will now have competitive game points. Even then, the national coach will probably not be able to draw on the full, Timo Werner (flu-like infection), Serge Gnaby (cold) and Toni Kroos are questionable.
Robin Koch, Florian Neuhaus and Luca Waldschmidt have at least shown that they are serious alternatives. For the upcoming competitive games, but also for the EM next year. You took your chance.