Despite another loss for the World Champions, for one of Joachim Löw's squad it was one of the most important nights of his life. Patrick Herrmann enjoyed every minute of his debut, writes DW's André Leslie from Cologne.
Ten minutes after most of his team had scurried through the mixed zone to the team's brand new (highly publicized) bus, Patrick Herrmann was still talking. The 23-year-old Borussia Mönchengladbach player just couldn't seem to stop chatting to members of the local press about his first night in German colors.
"I found out I would start the game just the day before," he explained, with a grin from ear to ear. "I thought I'd just get a few minutes, but to start the game was just an awesome experience."
Herrmann's enthusiasm is understandable: the Gladbach player was first nominated for Germany way back in March 2013, for a World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan. But that night in Nuremberg he never got on the pitch. He had to wait a further two years before getting that chance.
"It's just fun to play with players with this level of skill," he added, looking back on his first game. "You do notice a difference in the speed of the ball though."
Not quite the perfect night
Herrmann started the match strongly, combining well with Mario Götze to create Germany's first goal in the 12th minute. Thereafter, each time he touched the ball in the first half, the crowd seemed to inhale a deep breath of anticipation. That's not bad considering the match was in Cologne, and Herrmann hails from nearby rivals Gladbach. But he was playing the type of football that Joachim Löw loves.
Once the second half began, however, Herrmann's charm started to wear off. There were less of his daring runs, and Germany's attacking passes started to look a little bit random. It's not a new problem for the German team, according to the coach.
"In the last two or three years we have become a team that dominates possession," Joachim Löw said after the game. "We have slightly lost the ability to steal the ball, change quickly into attacking mode and run deep to create chances."
"Today, I told the team that when we win the ball – no matter who has it - we need to run deep, move at speed and really sprint. We managed it a few times in the first half."
Such team criticism is not something that Löw expresses very often publicly. When he says that this issue will be "an important topic" for the team over the next months, you know he means it.
'It's going to get framed'
But self reflection is a good thing - and necessary - after losing to a fighting but hardly dominant US side in Cologne. Even debutant Herrmann was prepared to acknowledge he didn't do it all right on Wednesday night.
"I don't think I looked so great during one of the goals we conceded, I should have tried to go back and cut it off," he admitted.
The same can be said of Germany's defensive line too, who struggled at times in Cologne. They didn't have Herrmann's excuse of being debutants, but they haven't played a lot of games between them either. The back four had a combined match experience of 26 games and, at times, it really showed. Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng are now the senior men in this defense.
But, in the end, the night wasn't all a negative experience. As Löw admited at the post game press conference, the result isn't that important. And, at least one player will likely remember the match for the rest of his life.
"This shirt is going to get framed," gushed Herrmann after the game, still holding his playing jersey in his hands. "We're going to hang it up at home."