The German press has torn into Bayern youngster Holger Badstuber after his nightmare game against Serbia. Many have called for him to be benched, but his teammates disagree.
Badstuber didn't stop this, or many other Krasic crosses
Serbia winger Milos Krasic, who plays for CSKA Moscow, may be on his way to a fat payday at Manchester City. There's little doubt he earned his share of notoriety over the past six seasons in Russia, but his latest coming out party - Friday's match against Germany - might well seal the deal.
If it does, Krasic had better send Holger Badstuber a thank you note, as he torched Germany's 22-year-old left back over and over on the big stage. He got behind the Bayern man to deliver the cross on the game-winning goal, and could well have assisted on others - had his teammates finished more clinically.
Sensing a potential weak spot in the team going forward, the German press were quick to jump on Badstuber. The football specialist magazine rated his performance with a very poor 5.5 out of 6, and mass-market Bild tabloid gave him a 6 - essentially an 'F'. The Frankfurter Rundschau, meanwhile, called his performance "flagging" and wrote that his substitution in the 77th minute had been "urgent."
In that Germany has a number of good options at outside back, many are beginning to ask whether Germany might be better off with Badstuber on the bench for its match against Ghana - one in which Germany need to get a result.
Marcell Janssen or Dennis Aogo could play left back ahead of Badstuber. Or Philipp Lahm could move back to his old haunt on the left and cede the right back slot to Jerome Boateng, who is sure to be up for the Ghana game. (Boateng's father is Ghanaian, and his brother Kevin-Prince is likely to be on the field for the Black stars.)
But before that movement could gather steam, a number of key men in the Germany camp stepped in to defend Badstuber.
Loew took Badstuber off, but may start him again
Coach Joachim Loew admitted that Badstuber had, like the rest of the team, committed errors against Serbia, but called his role in the game's lone goal only a small part of a "chain reaction."
Team captain Philipp Lahm went further, attempting to shift blame for the goal to himself and the other members of the German back line.
"You can't prevent every cross from getting through, so I don't even see that as a mistake from Holger," said Lahm. "Per [Mertesacker], Arne [Friedrich], and I didn't have our house in order in the middle."
Still, coach Loew would not confirm whether Badstuber would start at left back against Ghana.
Author: Matt Hermann (dpa/sid)
Editor: Sonia Phalnikar