If you were to ask any Nuremberg inhabitant why they had parted with over €50 to see Germany play Gibraltar on their own doorstep, they would have probably told you that they wanted to see the newly crowned world champions as well as to witness a barrage of goals.
Even to someone who is the least interested in football and the tightest with money, the prospect of witnessing the best international team in the world scoring more goals than a 20/20 test match would have been hard to turn down.
However, beyond all expectations, every single home fan would have left the Stadion Nϋrnberg feeling that they were not only robbed of their money but failed to see what they had initially turned up to witness.
None of the home fans demands were met much to the embarrassment of the Germany Football Association who despite putting on an appealing pre-match celebration were severely let down.
Neither was a barrage of goals scored, but no professional worthy of being called a world champion showed up last night, with Gibraltar leaving Bavaria yesterday relatively unscathed following what almost seemed like a victory to them with a 4-0 defeat.
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Despite doing their duty by securing the vital three points, Joachim Löw’s team were pushed all the way by the smallest of all minnows, with the British Overseas Territory even able to record two shots on Manuel Neuer’s goal.
A performance like this is nothing other than a shambles for a team who are ranked number one in the FIFA World Rankings, with everyone left more than bewildered.
Whilst RTL expert and former Germany goalkeeper, Jens Lehmann was quick to point the finger at the management by saying that any score under 5-0 would be nothing other than a disappointment, Löw was perhaps the most clear with his judgement.
The 54 year old blasted his world champions by criticising everything from their determination to their inability to break down a team littered with part-time professionals.
Whilst the former VfB Stuttgart manager is partially to blame for Germany’s stuttering start to their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign with last night’s win still leaving the Eagles third in Group D by using questionable tactics, he has been let down by his own players.
With the likes of Marco Reus, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Gomez all injured, Löw gave both Max Kruse and Lukas Podolski, two professionals who had previously complained about their lack of involvement in the national set-up a chance to prove themselves last night.
The duo were nothing other than disappointing last night, with German national newspaper ironically giving higher grades to Gibraltar players then the mismatched pair.
Whilst Kruse was only able to win 30% of his challenges with professionals who as their main job run both building and catering companies, Podolski hit more people in the crowd then he had shots on target.
After last night’s disappointing performance, Löw suggested that the pair were fully unable to justify their pleads to start more games, instead of being chosen as bench fillers.
The 54-year-old, amongst several German pundits, was also quick to point the finger at several established players, who they argue failed to give a favourable account of themselves last night.
Despite scoring three goals amongst themselves, Thomas Mϋller and Mario Götze seemed content with their efforts and showed no enthusiasm to add to their tally.
To be honest, no one wearing the formidable golden FIFA world champions’ logo gave a favourable account of themselves with Sϋddeutsche Zeitung playing on the fact Low’s side entered the stadium yesterday with the sole intention of doing the bare minimum in order to wrap up the points.
In fact this has been the case for Germany in their last four qualifying games for the European Championships, with Neuer and company being accused of taking fixtures against lesser sides too lightly.
After losing their first ever game away to Poland followed by the disappointing 1-1 draw at home to the Republic of Ireland in October, German are in third position in Group D and by the looks of things last night don’t seem too bothered.
Whilst many people are blaming Germany’s woes on the retirement of Philipp Lahm, Per Mertesacker and Mirolsav Klose, perhaps the reason for the nation’s decline is the factor of over-confidence and ignorance.
Löw and the Germany management will have no doubt picked up on this over the last few months with yesterday’s display confirming this.
Although there is no doubt that the Eagles will qualify and book their ticket for France 2016, the DFB is particular will not only have to keep to a solid starting eleven without more changes than a continental railway service, but in ensuring that everyone starts to pull their fingers out.
At the end of the day, the household names are only embarrassing themselves and setting a bad example for the new-comers, with the integration of young players into the side no excuse for their fall from grace.
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