Many assumed that Germany would blow Algeria out in their 2014 World Cup matchup. It took until extra time for Germany to break down the Desert Foxes. Algeria had a great game plan and executed everything but the finish. They have given a France team with a touch more class the blueprint to beat die Mannschaft.
Algeria showed exactly where to attack Germany, and to do it with speed.
It starts with pressing the midfielders with speed, which can help create turnovers. The midfield of Germany has great quality, but they are slow and not physical. Philipp Lahm averaged the lowest speed against Algeria of any of the front six before he was moved to right back. With Mats Hummels expected to return against France, Lahm should be pushed back to the midfield.
Regardless, the midfield will be a combination of Lahm, Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos. As seem in the match with the USMNT, these players do not enjoy physical contact.
If a turnover is created, France should then get the ball to the flanks. At least 35 minutes into the Algeria match, none of the members of the back line had won a tackle. Benedikt Howedes was out of position and too slow to get back numerous times in the first half against Algeria. Per Mertesacker is not an athlete.
Assuming Lahm is back in the midfield, this means Jerome Boateng is the right back. He can be beaten and baited into a bad tackle. When France gain possession, they need to go with speed to the outside.
Germany have struggled on the outside with pace for some time. One could see indecision and inability in the areas of tempo andpace, both on and off the ball. Coming into this World Cup, Joachim Low did not have many true or fit fullbacks to choose from for his 23-man roster. However, he could resolve some of these issues by leaving Lahm at right back and trusting Erik Durm on the left side. He is the one true left-back with pace on the roster.
The French have better quality at the vital spots to capitalize on Germany’s weaknesses. Although Mathieu Valbuena and Lahm may be a battle of the two shortest players in the field, the other matchups in the midfield seem to favor France. Blaise Matuidi and Paul Pogba have both pace and physicality.
Antoine Griezmann seems to be the more elusive striking partner with Karim Benzema at the moment. This combination of players can get wide allowing runners to take the open space in the middle.
France should follow the blueprint provided by Algeria, which includes attacking on the flanks and using speed to find space for a cross. Germany may not have hit their stride yet, but they need to find it. The French have the right game plan and the ability to execute.