After a breathtaking display of football from both sides, Germany had to settle for another draw against neighbor Switzerland. Here is who stood out.
Jersey exchange: Mario Gavranovic
The Dinamo Zagreb striker was Switzerland’s peerless player tonight, scoring two brilliantly taken goals. His first was a looping header well taken over Manuel Neuer’s head, while his second was a piledriver that no keeper in the world would have saved. Not only that, but he was also the head of Switzerland’s strong forward press, which gave German defenders a hard time. If only Germany had good center-backs who played ball and could overcome that press… cough Boateng cough.
The Bombers: Serge Gnabry and Timo Werner
The two were on fire tonight, with two goals and an assist between them. Werner scored the first goal that kept Germany out of the game and helped Gnabry with a mazy run. However, he inflated a few chances, which prevents him from being the best striker. Gnabry, meanwhile, started the game slowly, but it grew and started causing all kinds of trouble for the Swiss defense. His pressing was pretty decent (I guess he learned that playing under Hansi Flick), and his runs weren’t half bad. The crowning jewel was when he pulled Werner’s cross past Yann Sommer in the bottom corner for another goal in The team colors. He has become a constant threat to the club and the country, which can only be good.
The German midfield press was not at its worst tonight, and Goretzka was at the heart of it. He was constantly running back and forth, making sure he was close to any capricious passes from friend or foe. He was also easily Germany’s most physical presence in midfield, physically pushing Swiss midfielders off the ball left and right. I believe the game was not even twenty minutes old when Goretzka’s pearly white jersey was smeared and stained with grass and dirt. It shows how hard he was working from the first minute, and he didn’t stop until the final whistle. His endurance has become very impressive, these workouts must be really effective.
The Emperor: Manuel Neuer
Tonight was by no means Neuer’s best night. Maybe he could have done a better job for Switzerland’s second goal, and he left two more. That said, he was Germany’s most commanding defender, having had to bail out his teammates on several occasions. Without Europe’s best goalkeeper, Germany would most certainly have succumbed to their first defeat in a year. His passes and sweeps were on point and he advanced more accurate balls than any other player on his defensive line. It’s games like these that show how important a player like Neuer is to the team. Hopefully next time his defense doesn’t let him dry up.
Matchmaster: Kai Havertz
The young midfielder was by far the best German player of the evening. Deployed out of position on the wing (yes I know he can play there, but it’s not his best position), Havertz was active the entire game until his questionable replacement. He cut two Swiss passes which led to an assist for Werner’s goal and his own equalizer. Not only did he register a goal and an assist, but he also showed sophisticated footwork, especially a nice dribble which many eyes saw. He showed why Chelsea paid so much for him, and he also showed that he definitely has the talent to become a world class player. Wherever its future lies in a few years, whether in London or elsewhere, it looks bright.
One sentence notes for the rest
- Klostermann: Did not offer much for the future. 5/10
- Rudiger: “Positioning” is a word that is obviously not part of his vocabulary. 3/10
- Ginter: It wasn’t as bad as Rudiger but it was nothing special.
- Gosens: Had a decent shot on goal, but that was it. 4/10
- Kimmich: Dropped the ball several times but fought to get it back. 6/10
- Kroos: Not too impressive for his 100th international selection. 5/10
- Halstenberg: It wasn’t a big improvement over Gosens. 4/10
- Can: Not bad defensively, not good in the future. 5/10
- Draxler: The runs were okay, the passes weren’t. 5/10
- Coach: The plan for the second half was correct, but he needs to sort out his defense. 5/10
- Whole team: Slight improvement compared to the game against Ukraine, but a lot more is needed. 5/10
- Werner 7/10, Gnabry 7/10, Goretzka 7/10, Neuer 6/10, Havertz 8/10