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Germany are tactically mobile, but is Loew?

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On paper, this Germany side has six forwards and two central midfielders. Four center-backs but just one specialist left back. Madness is what immediately comes to mind.

But Joachim Loew might just have some method in his thinking. Modern football is all about multi-functional players, operating in a system that is dynamic and can easily shift from one to another. And in that regard, Loew’s Germany side are a highly efficient bunch.

The point is best illustrated with the case of Thomas Mueller.

The Bayern Munich man can challenge Miroslav Klose/Mario Gomez/Cacau to play up front, Stefan Kiessling/Piotr Trochowoski to play on the right and Lukas Podolski/Marko Marin for a spot on the left. Mueller has been used in all of those positions this season by club coach Louis van Gaal, and he was even used as an advanced player in a midfield three, a role that does not exist in Germany’s current tactical setup.

Mueller is the jack of all trades

Despite this ability to fit in almost anywhere, Mueller will probably be on the bench for Germany’s first game against Australia on Sunday. Which begs the question, as to why?

This is because most of the other players in the Germany squad are almost as multi-functional. Toni Kroos for example, is the ideal replacement for Mesut Oezil in the central playmaking role, but he is a more likely replacement for either of the two central midfielders if they get injured/suspended. He can also play on the left.

Staying in midfield, while Schweinsteiger is a lock for the midfield spot, he has played the vast majority of his games for Germany either on the left or on the right. Podolski can play as the central striker but looks set for the left.

And in defence, this multi-position capability is even more evident. Phillip Lahm can play right or left back, Friedrich right or center back. Boateng mirrors the latter, while Badstuber is the inverse – he plays center and left back.

But Denis Aogo is the most interesting. The Hamburg man, will probably be Loew’s fall-back solution for the central midfield spot, and the fact that he has Kroos to share that burden with is why Loew, probably did not call up a replacement for his several injuries.

The questions that remains is whether having such squad flexibility is really helpful? Most coaches would tell you that such an option is an ace-in-the-hole. Each person brings unique qualities to the position they play and this adds to the overall unpredictability of the team, making them harder to plan and play against.

Having such an option greatly increases the chance of making swift, but subtle tactical changes that can affect the result of a game.

But in order to do that, you need a tactically astute manager, who is quick on his feet and brave.

And while Loew is certainly the former, he is yet to convince most that he possess either of the latter two qualities.

is Loew fast enough on his feet?

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Written by quazi zulquarnain

June 10, 2010 at 7:54 pm

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