Germany have yet again come under attack, but this time internally rather than externally.
And it’s not just the media who blasted their own team, but a whole host of former players, managers and famous celebrities have taken to social media sites to vent their anger and frustration at the national side following their unconvincing win over Algeria.
While the media were unhappy, Michael Ballack and Dietmar Hamann - two players who between them have won 157 caps for Germany - have been critical of Low whilst suggesting that the current starting line-up is one of the weakest in years.
Indeed, yesterday’s affair against a plucky Algeria side portrayed Germany to the world as a team who are in decline rather than on the rise, much to Low’s disappointment.
For the past eight years, everyone involved within the German Football Federation have invested huge sums of money, time, patience, sweat, bloods and tears in order to see this 'Golden Generation' come up trumps and win the nation’s first World Cup title since 1990.
Euro 2012 all over again?
At this moment in time, it looks like the 2014 World Cup will almost mirror what happened at Euro 2012.
After being knocked out in the semi-final to Italy, the feeling was that Low’s side were unlucky and had the best possible chance to succeed two years later in Brazil.
However, it seems that this is not to be and Germany are likely to be eliminated at the hands of next door neighbours France if Low fails to alter his line-up.
Lahm needs to switch
Despite seeing the warning signs against Ghana and the USA, Low and his management staff opted to keep playing Phillpp Lahm in his favoured sweeper position, whilst also preferring to stick with the tried and tested option of Jerome Boateng and Benedikt Höwedes on each defensive flank.
Indeed, he now might be forced to twist, in this instance convincing Lahm to drop back into his classic right-back slot whilst dropping Höwedes to the bench in favour of 22-year-old Erik Durm.
It is inconceivable that Lahm struggled for the majority of the game against a robust and athletic Algeria side who targeted the Bayern Munich captain as a potential weak spot in the heart of Germany’s midfield.
He was too indecisive on the ball and seemed to display characteristics of his ripe age of 30 as Algeria ran ribbons around the half-pint defender, leaving him unable to go on his customary runs into the opposition’s half.
Although many people will highlight Andre Schϋrrle’s half-time introduction in place of Mario Götze, as the changing point in the game, it can be argued that Lahm’s switch to right-back in the second half gave the rest of the team the confidence they needed to secure the win.
It was like almost like stepping in a time machine, setting the dial for 23 April 2013 and watching Lahm waltz his past the entire Barcelona team before assisting the killer blows for Bayern Munich team-mates Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben.
Okay, it might not have been Barcelona, but Lahm was able to use his insightful expertise in this position to link-up supervly with Mesut Ozil and Schϋrrle, who together ran the Algeria team ragged.
The obvious way forward is to deploy Lahm in this position for the rest of Germany’s run in the tournament. However, Low has his work cut out for him with his captain much preferring his role in the centre of midfield.
Just as many things in life, you can’t drive a car without petrol and you can’t go scuba-diving without an aqualung, and this is relevant to football where you can’t have a right-back without a matching left-back on the other wing.
Durm to replace Howedes?
The answer is simple. Höwedes has to make way for Durm, for the sake of Germany’s progression through the latter stages of the World Cup.
Out of any player within the starting 11, the Schalke captain has been given the most slack from the German media, with managers such as Felix Magath and Ottmar Hitzfeld accusing Höwedes of being too slow.
The 28-year old-has also come out in public by saying that he never chose to play in this position, indicating that he would prefer to partner either Per Mertesacker or Mats Hummels in the centre of Germany’s defence.
Durm only made his Bundesliga debut for parent club Borussia Dortmund in August last year and has since become the preferred choice at left-back.
The 22-year-old is blessed with speed, agility and a great eye for picking out team-mates in dangerous positions in the opposition’s half, features which have all been missing from this Germany side so far at the World Cup.
Low prefers to keep his starting line-up safe and straight forward, though, and even with the likes of Julian Draxler, Miroslav Klose and Sami Khedira itching to start it seems that Durm will have a lot to prove in training if he hopes to feature against France on Friday.
The ball is very much in Low’s court, but if he doesn't remedy the problem and Germany slip out of the World Cup against France, his job will surely become unattainable.
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