Germany’s defensive display against the Netherlands on Friday was anything but convincing with the Nationalmannschaft going down to a 4-2 defeat in Hamburg to the Oranje. Only Niklas Süle emerged from the loss with any credit from the defence leading to questions from some quarters as to a possible recall for Mats Hummels- something Bundestrainer Joachim Löw has quickly played down.
No means no
Following Germany’s Euro 2020 qualifying defeat to the Dutch, Bild asked the killer question to the national team coach following the match and cited Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke, who had stated back in August that he felt Hummels could be considered for a return.
“Is there a chance of a comeback for Mats Hummels?” the German tabloid pointedly asked Löw. The coach replied in blunt fashion. “Everything has been said. I do not want to comment on Mr Watzke’s statement.”
No Hummels, no party then.
It was back in March of this year that Löw made the tough choice to end the international careers of Bayern Munich trio Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Müller with the national team building a new group of players ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifiers.
“It was a very difficult day” Löw said of his decision. “It cost me a lot of strength, because I have a very emotional bond with these three players.
The World Cup title will always connect us.
“We wanted to create space for players that we trust to be the backbone of this team in the future. But it was just as clear to me that we would still need more experienced players. Neuer, Kroos, Reus and Gündogan play that role now” he told Sportbuzzer at the time.
In other words, he saw Süle as the future with the likes of Jonathan Tah, Matthias Ginter, Niklas Stark, Thilo Kehrer, all to be given the chance to build a new central defensive back line/back three.
Jonathan Tah endured a poor night against the Dutch with an error which led to Holland’s equaliser and an own-goal to hand the visitors a 2-1 lead. Matthias Ginter, the other centre back in the back-three misplaced a pass which led to the third goal. One bad performance shouldn’t tar a player, but how many other nations could afford to leave an experienced player like Hummels out in the cold?
Should no mean maybe?
With Hummels joining Borussia Dortmund in the summer still ranked as arguably the Bundesliga’s best central defender and only being 30-years-old (well within his prime), there is going to be this niggling question hanging over the new German defensive set-up whenever they don’t perform to their optimum.
Of course, young players need time and are going to make sporadic errors. Hummels however has started the season in fine form for his club and ranks amongst Kicker’s player ratings as the top German defender (2.83 average) after three games (alongside Lars Bender).
As it stands, Hummels is going to have to concentrate on helping to sort out Borussia Dortmund’s defence, but if he continues to shine as the Bundesliga’s best central defender, then Joachim Löw’s decision back in March is going to seem more and more like folly.
Never say never, Herr. Löw.
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