Heading into their opening Group E game against Japan, Germany don’t have the best defensive record. Die Mannschaft conceded nine goals in six UEFA Nations League games in June and September. Speaking to media on Monday, Niklas Süle called for defensive stability.
“In a tournament like this, we have to provide stability and radiate something at the back,” said Süle. “We have to have a good remaining defence because we have the ball a lot. We had two or three things against Oman that we need to improve.”
Under Hansi Flick, Germany are far more fluid going forward, but it leaves them prone to a counter-attack. Süle added: “We have to train procedures in the shortest possible time and discuss them again and again so that we can achieve a top performance on Wednesday.
“Protection against the counter-attack is part of that, because the team thinks very offensively. We’ve had problems there lately, we can’t let that happen against Japan.”
Flick has kept his cards close to his chest when it comes to a starting XI. Lukas Klostermann completed 34 minutes against Oman last week as he regains fitness following a recent injury. Thilo Kehrer has also played at right-back for Germany whilst Süle has played predominantly at right-back for Borussia Dortmund this season – that could allow a defensive pairing of Nico Schlotterbeck and Antonio Rüdiger.
On Wednesday, Germany face Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium, kick-off at 4pm local time. The previous meeting between the two teams in 2006 finished in a 2-2 draw.
GGFN | Daniel Pinder