Former Germany striker Kevin Kuranyi uses his first DW World Cup column to dissect Germany's defeat to Mexico. He calls on Joachim Löw to start Marco Reus and Mario Gomez, and warns that Germany could be done early.
Onto planes, off planes, flights here, flights there — I've traveled a lot around Russia over the last few days.
No matter where I've been, be it Sochi, Moscow or St. Petersburg, I've met locals who are proud of this World Cup. Everyone is happy that the games are finally taking place and that the Sbornaja (Russia's national team) had such an excellent start with that 5-0 win against Saudi Arabia.
However, my joy over what so far has been a pleasant tournament, was dampened by what was a sobering experience for the German team on Sunday night. They picked up where they left off in their pre-World Cup friendlies against Austria and Saudi Arabia. The players looked sluggish, there was a lack of pace, the power wasn't there. And the Mexicans played well and could have won by more. The German players were simply missing that last little bit of grit and liveliness.
It's time for the experienced players to speak up
After a World Cup like the one in Brazil, it's difficult to prepare for a new tournament as if the last one hadn't happened. It's difficult to rekindle that hunger for the title, that desire to do everything possible to win a cup that you've already won. And then when things don't get off to a great start and a few things don't quite go according to plan, it's easy for heads to go down. But against Mexico, there was no getting away from the fact that we had problems.
It's also clear that Germany can afford no repeat of that performance when they face Sweden on Saturday. Together with Joachim Löw, the team needs to analyze what went wrong and find solutions. The more experienced players need to speak up and wake the younger players up – otherwise, the World Cup could be over sooner than any of those involved think. Against Sweden, we need to tread carefully and find our way back to our customary form.
Marco Reus should be in the starting 11
However, it's not only the players' attitudes that need to change. In my opinion, a few personnel changes would do the team good as well. Marco Reus deserves a place in the starting lineup in place of Julian Draxler, Mesut Özil or even Thomas Müller. I'd also like to see Mario Gomez start up front. In his short cameo against Mexico, Mario showed how dangerous he can be in front of goal, and his huge experience would also help in difficult situations. I hope that Jogi Löw's men can find their way again and go deep into this World Cup.
Kevin Kuranyi is covering the World Cup in Russia as a columnist for DW and a television pundit for public broadcaster ARD. Kuranyi is a citizen of three countries represented at the World Cup: Germany, Panama and his native Brazil. He made 52 international appearances for Germany and was part of the team that reached the final of Euro 2008. After a rift with coach Joachim Löw, which he has described as "the biggest mistake of my career" Kuranyi was kicked off the national team and played in Russia for five years before hanging up his boots in 2017.