Three-time European Champion Germany moves forward in its preparations in the run-up to hosting Euro 2024 as they are primed to lock horns with CONCACAF powerhouse Mexico at Lincoln Financial Field tonight in Philadelphia.
New Die Mannschaft boss Julian Nagelsmann will look to make it two wins in two after taking up his new post at the helm of the nation’s top side as the DFB hopes to have their faith repaid after turning to the former Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig, and Hoffenheim head trainer to right a ship in real danger of foundering.
After a 2-1 win against France under interim boss Rudi Völler, Germany did well to show further signs of progress during Nagelsmann’s national team managerial debut when they ran out 3-1 winners against the United States thanks to goals from İlkay Gündoğan, Niclas Füllkrug, and Jamal Musiala.
Up next for Nationalelf is a Mexico side whom they last met during the 2018 World Cup in Russia when El Tri earned a shock 1-0 win at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium that set Germany on a collision course with crashing out during the group stage under Joachim Löw.
Thankfully for Germany, there is a real chance for Nagelsmann’s men to set the record straight against Jaime Lozano and company. Despite a 2-0 win over Ghana in Charlotte, North Carolina, Mexico recently drew against Australia (2-2) and Uzbekistan (3-3), which once again proves that the bitter US rival remains inconsistent at best outside of CONCACAF play.
For Nagelsmann, who is in the midst of his first crack at international management, the state of play surrounding the differences in relation to club football could well suit the Bavarian-born tactician due to his penchant for overthinking himself into trouble on the tactics sheet.
During his pre-match press conference on Monday, Nagelsmann stated: “I don’t have much experience as a national team coach. But it suits me very well. At club level, it was said that I had too many ideas. Now as a national team coach, I have less time and have to limit myself to the most important things. I’m feeling very comfortable at the moment, I’ve been impressed by how quickly the players have accepted things. When you win, it always feels good – of course, we want to continue with that.”
Germany, a side that has received justifiable criticism in recent years for woefully underperforming despite the high grade of talent that still populates the player pool, now seems to be keeping things far more simple and laser-focused on results amid tactical schematics that can be structured surrounding a talented collective looks to be the way forward under the 36-year-old former centre-back.
The pieces are certainly there in camp as well, and it is important to note that despite the absence of Joshua Kimmich due to injury, and Serge Gnabry not being called up, the likes of Pascal Groß and Florian Wirtz have shone as their replacements in the starting XI.
It may be early days under the gifted head trainer, but the signs are positive nonetheless. Much like against the United States, consistent and steady progression must be the order of the day tonight to build momentum into November’s international break. Though only a friendly, it may be the better part of prudence to resist big changes to the team and instead push for results with a player core that has looked settled already.
GGFN | Andrew Thompson