After the stunning demolition of Portugal, the question remains; do the Germans even need an out and out striker?
Think back to the European Championships of 2012. Spain managed to do brilliantly with no ‘recognized’ striker for much of the tournament, eventually going on to win. How things have changed.
The Spanish have Diego Costa, after his decision to switch allegiances from Brazil to Spain, but he was ineffective in the clash with Holland. Was this change of tack and newfound reliance on the strikers of Spain responsible for their humiliating defeat to Holland?
The better option would have been to pack the midfield with the most talented players and put in a performance like Germany did against Portugal; where it is about how you attack rather than who you attack with.
It throws open the debate on whether the need for world class strikers in an international side is as important to the so called ‘bigger nations’ as it once was. The real question is has it become less of an issue to now go into a tournament while having little in the way of forward options or not even use them?
Germany came into the World cup with Miroslav Klose being named as their only genuine striker. This is less of an issue when you have attacking players like Thomas Muller scoring a hattrick against Portugal with Lukas Podolski and Klose as back up on the bench.
The German squad is an example of a team peppered with outstanding midfield and defensive talent but apparently lacks outstanding attacking options. Loew has used the midfield players’ different strengths to create the attacks that players like Muller have been scoring from for Bayern Munich all season.
When one combines Mesut Ozil and Muller in a team that also has the flair and vision of Mario Gotze, this writer would argue that the perceived lack of ‘out and out’ attacking threat pales in insignificance when they dismantle the biggest threat in their group.
The German strength lies in their depth, and a look at their bench substantiates many people’s beliefs that they are real contenders for this World Cup. Joachim Loew can leave Klose and Podolski out of their forward line, rest one of their central midfield stalwarts in Schweinsteiger as well as bringing on Schurrle, which was the case against Portugal. This leaves him with enough attacking options to sustain a challenge for the latter stages of the tournament.
Add into the mix that the focus of the World Cup has shifted completely to Brazil, the favourites and Argentina with few still looking at Spain to retain their World title even after that defeat. We will see on the 13th of July but do not be rule out the ‘striker-less’ Germans as they aim to claim their first major tournament win in 18 years.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena.