Premier League

Why did Germany lose against Japan?

Junya Ito, Niklas Suele

Japan came from behind to shock Germany after a dramatic 2-1 victory in the opening match of Group E, earning their very first win against their European counterparts in the process.

Hansi Flick’s side had taken the lead through a first-half Ilkay Gundogan penalty but after some timely second-half substitutions, Japan stormed back through goals from Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano to kickstart their 2022 World Cup campaign in triumphant fashion.

Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders, Grizz Khan and Jack Gallagher to look back on France ’98 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us! If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download or listen to the episode in full!

This is now the second consecutive World Cup in which Germany have lost their opening group game after a 1-0 defeat to Mexico in 2018, a tournament that saw them crash out of the group stages while attempting to defend the trophy.

With Spain awaiting in just four days, the Germans now face a very real challenge just to make it through to the knockout rounds. But where did it go wrong for them against Japan?

Junya Ito, Niklas Suele

Niklas Sule is not a natural right-back and it showed / Claudio Villa/GettyImages

After a decade of Philipp Lahm until his international retirement in 2014, it must be difficult for German fans to accept their situation at right-back, where only makeshift options are available – including the clunky Niklas Sule, the squarest of pegs in the roundest of holes.

Sule’s selection caused Germany far more problems than it solved against Japan, not least because he played Asano onside for the winning goal with some atrocious positioning. While a very consistent centre-back, Sule offers very little as a modern full-back, even if it does allow David Raum to get further forward on the opposite side.

Flick’s decision to play Nico Schlotterbeck wasn’t vindicated, either, as he looked extremely shaky throughout. The obvious answer to this is to move Sule into the middle of the defence and Joshua Kimmich out to right-back, with his Bayern Munich midfield partner Leon Goretzka coming into the starting lineup. Both Kimmich and Flick, however, seem reluctant to revert back to this – even as it is clear it would greatly benefit the team.

Kai Havertz

Kai Havertz has scored only four goals in 20 games for Chelsea this season / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

Kai Havertz has been far from a prolific goalscorer since moving to Chelsea from Bayer Leverkusen and struggled yet again…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at 90min EN…