Germany often has trouble with South American clubs, but the World Cup favorite was at home and escaped with a 1-0 victory over Chile that was against the run of play. For once the midfield was the problem as Philip Lahm joined Bastian Schweinsteiger in the defensive position but a five player midfield gave Chile too much space.
The German National Team looked off balance for much of the match and even the captain Lahm showed some signs of uncertainty. Coach Jogi Low has work to do to tighten the midfield and build confidence before heading to Brazil.
It looked as though Chile would grab the lead in the first 15 minutes and they sent well timed attacks down a poorly defended flank. Arturo Vidal got on the end of a corner that beat Manuel Neuer, but Lahm was there to clear it off the line. For all the excitement in the opening quarter hour, Chile missed their chance to capitalize as Germany got their lone goal in the 16th minute. Mesut Ozil found a wide open Mario Gotze near the penalty spot who was able to lift it over the Chilean keeper.
The incredible pace to the match did not stop as more chances came before the halftime whistle and Chile continued to press after the break. Eduardo Vargas clanged the crossbar on what looked like the sure equalizer for Chile. The South American squad had the better chances but could not finish. They did not have what they needed once they got in the box.
Chile was full of tactical discipline and good touches near the box but when they got in a position to score it fell apart. Kevin Grosskreutz and Jerome Boateng were solid at the back to stop many of the attacks.
For many pundits, Chile is a sleeper in the World Cup but their performance in Germany may take them out of the sleeper category. For Germany, there are too many questions even with some new faces in the side. Gotze was great and Lahm eventually helped manage the match. Ozil was delightful in direct play but was still booed off the field when he was subbed out, as was the entire team at full time. German legend Miroslav Klose looked out of place and the defending on the outside was highly questionable.
It wasn’t all bad for Low as Ozil’s passing was superb, the center-back chemistry was excellent and Lahm backed up his words of wanting a full time role in the midfield for die Mannschaft. There are still questions that need answered as the defense was porous at times, especially on the outside and the coach was unable to influence the run of play in the second half.
Low’s game plan will have to be different with his full first choice lineup and he might want to consider going back to the false nine idea and let Gotze be the finisher. The next match for Germany will be against Poland on May 13, so we can see how the game plan changes in two months.