Germany′s loss to Brazil just a reminder of how different they are in friendlies | News | DW | 28.03.2018
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Germany's loss to Brazil just a reminder of how different they are in friendlies

Germany's defeat to Brazil was deserved but is by no means a disaster for the world champions. It was a reminder just how different head coach Joachim Löw's team are in friendlies compared to tournaments.

Just like that fateful night in the Mineirão in Belo Horizonte four years ago, Germany's latest meeting with Brazil probably meant more to the samba nation than Joachim Löw's men. For Brazil, the ghost of that semifinal defeat four years ago was put to bed with an impressive display in the German capital. For Germany, the defeat comes exactly when defeats should come for teams hoping to win World Cups: before the tournament even starts.

Read more: How Germany's players rated against Brazil

"If the Brazilian soul finds peace again after the 7-1, then that's okay," Löw quipped afterwards. Most head coaches who had just witnessed what he had might not have delivered such a relaxed response, but Löw knows this team. Above all he also knows — like many watching on — that Germany in friendlies are different to Germany in competitions.

The defending World Cup champions failed to breakthrough Brazil's lines, were slow in the build-up and often out of place positionally. It was just one of those nights – and Germany's players said as much afterwards. Joshua Kimmich said Germany "found no answers in attack," Löw criticised the body language of his team and Toni Kroos told public broadcaster ZDF rather bluntly: "Brazil showed us that we are not as good as everyone always says and as some of us maybe think."

Freundschaftsspiel Deutschland Brasilien Toni Kroos (picture-alliance/GES/T. Eisenhuth)

Germany's mid-field maestro Toni Kroos had a quiet night

It's true. On this viewing, Germany are not going to win the World Cup in Russia. The decision to start Mario Gomez looked the wrong one, particularly when Lars Stindl and Julian Brandt came on and injected some of the intent Brazil showed for most of the first half. Kevin Trapp looked rusty, Ilkay Gündogan was sloppy, and too often it took the long-ranging ball from Jerome Boateng or Antonio Rüdiger to open the play.

But this is one game — and it's always dangerous to take too much from one international friendly. If there was anything to take, it was Jerome Boateng's night, because in many ways it was more his than Germany's.

A black man from Berlin captaining Germany against Brazil in the world's most popular sport — it was a moment that overshadowed any result or performance that followed. A leader on the team, a favorite among the crowd, Boateng might well be the man Löw has to consider as captain given Manuel Neuer's long-term injury. Germany looked to have lost Boateng to injury, but the Bayern Munich defender shook off any serious concerns.

Joachim Löw said before the game that Germany "can, must and will get better." On tonight's showing, that statement rings perhaps truer than even before kick off, but the reaction to defeat was fairly relaxed. Some might argue too relaxed for a man under more pressure to defend a World Cup title than most in recent memory. Two and half months out, Löw still knows best though, and the defeat was just a reminder of how different this Germany team is in games that don't matter.

In four months, we'll likely look back and say Germany only lose friendlies. Before then, Germany have two more "tests" — against Austria and Saudi Arabia. If history is anything to go by, lessons will have be learned and by the time they reach the Russian sunshine, they'll be bristling with quality all over again.

 

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