While Germany has won every single match they have played at this 2014 World Cup, manager Jogi Low has to avoid the idea of putting captain Philipp Lahm in a holding midfield role against Brazil.
Germany struggled at times to defend Algeria in their Round of 16 match and Low was forced to move Lahm to right back, his optimal position. The move worked and he used Lahm at right back again against France in their 1-0 win in the quarterfinals.
Low has plenty of other holding midfielders at his disposal and shoring up the fullback position, Germany’s weakest position, was necessary in order to find the right balance. It allowed Jerome Boateng to move into the middle of the defense next to Mats Hummels and as a result, moved Per Mertesacker to the bench. Mertesacker’s lack of speed allowed their opponents to attack on the counter with pace and Algeria turned it into a great advantage.
While Lahm had played well in the holding midfield role, it was counter-productive to their game plan and offered their opponents a clear weakness to try and exploit. With Lahm at right back, he is one of the best defenders in the world and makes Germany even more difficult to score on. The move improves upon the weakness while inserting a player of similar ilk like Sami Khedira or Toni Kroos into the vacated midfield spot; Germany’s attack does not miss a beat with this change.
Against a team as talented and ferocious on the attack as Brazil, Low must realize Lahm’s importance on the defensive end is far greater than any impact he may have in a defensive midfield role.