Germany were always expected to make a strong showing at this tournament: the two-time World Champions and current World #2 ranked team are certainly no walk-overs. But what have their performances in their first 3 games shown us so far, and what can we expect from them in the knockout rounds?
Germany are an incredibly direct attacking side, who tend to focus their attacks straight through the middle of the pitch rather than using the wings. This is a result of their very particular attacking formation, which is distinct from all of the other teams in the competition. They crowd the midfield, always providing a pass option when a loose ball situation arises, meaning that they can quickly convert contested possession into a potent attack.
This is a difficult formation to pull off, as it means that they are not giving themselves any space to work in. However, this kind of formation is new to most defending teams and has proved hard to handle. In addition, the 4-5 players in the centre are prone to making deep runs, keeping the opposition’s defence constantly on their guard.
That is, of course, not to say that Germany are unbeatable. Their compact shape going forward means that they leave themselves open on the wings, and if teams are able to capitalize on that, the German left wing is rife with opportunity: the left back is one of the less effective pressers off all the defenders on the top teams.
In addition, Schult (the German goalkeeper) has shown on more than one occasion that she is prone to hesitation, and only sheer luck has prevented this from costing the team too heavily. Against Spain, there was a moment in the 14th minute when her indecision almost gifted Nahikari a goal, only for the Spanish striker to hit it wide.
This hesitation is all the more risky as the Germans hold an aggressive high defensive line. This means that well-timed runs can expose the German defense as Spain did, which could easily have resulted in a goal or two.
Sweden will try to expose the German defense in the same way, but if Die Mannschaft have their way, their opponents will be much too busy trying to contain the strength of the German attack.
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