What can Joachim Löw learn from the international break?

The rebooted German national team achieved a statement result against the Netherlands, but also revealed weaknesses in both of their matches. What can head coach Joachim Löw take from the latest international break?

Strikers aren't always neccessary

Löw has long been seen as a rigid tactician, a state of mind helped by the players at his disposal over the years. But after another wasteful performance from Timo Werner against Serbia on Wednesday night, he decided to shake things up against the Netherlands on Sunday and play Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry (pictured, top), both naturally wingers, as a split front two.

It worked to devastating effect in the first half, with the propensity of both players to start their runs from deep and/or wide positions causing confusion in the Dutch defense and making even Virgil van Dijk look uncomfortable. While Leon Goretzka was the man tasked with splitting the two from midfield on Sunday, that's also a role that Mario Götze and Marco Reus could fill.

As has often been the case in recent years Germany have a lot more high class attacking midfielders than they do center forwards - a major downside to the country's otherwise much-vaunted academy system. But Sane and Gnabry can stretch defenses and their pace provides a genuine counterattcking threat, something Germany have often lacked and a potentially potent weapon against the better sides.

Kehrer doesn't look quite ready, Gündogan does

There's little doubting Thilo Kehrer's potential - few get a €40 million move to Paris-Saint Germain without  having something about them - but he's come up short on the big stage twice this month. His jittery start and poor backpass started the rot that eventually saw Manchester United knock PSG out of the Champions League and he also struggled at times on Wednesday.

Ryan Babel escpaes the attentions of Thilo Kehrer to test Manuel Neuer

The right wing-back role hides Kehrer's propensity to switch off more than when he plays further infield but his lapses of concentration can still prove costly. When the Netherlands roared back into the game on Wednesday, clawing back a two-goal deficit after half time only to lose 3-2 in the last minute, a lot of attacks came down Kehrer's side - including the equalizer - but the 22-year-old failed to adapt to the danger.

Joshua Kimmich looks a more complete option in that position and, though he has his own defensive shortcomings, he's also one of the world's best crossers and exceptional on the ball. Moving Kimmich to right wing-back would also open up a central midfield spot for Ilkay Gündogan.

The former Borussia Dortmund man played well on Wednesday and wore the captain's armband but was dropped on Sunday. However, a brilliant piece of footwork under pressure and a perfectly judged through-ball to Marco Reus set up the late winner against the Netherlands. Gündogan is largely injury-free for the first time in a while and starting to hit the heights again at Manchester City. He can do the same for Germany.

Kroos still has a part to play

All three 2014 World Cup winners in Germany's current squad started against the Dutch, with Joachim Löw's 'new Germany' still relying on a few familiar faces, including the one in the dugout. While Manuel Neuer's place is under threat from Marc-Andre ter Stegen and his own poor season and Matthias Ginter feels like a permanent stopgap, Kroos was described by his national team coach as "indispensable" ahead of the the Netherlands game.

Toni Kroos is one of few survivors from the team that won the 2014 World Cup

Despite a difficult campaign with Real Madrid, Kroos is still one of the best passers in world football and at 29, and with a game built on intelligence and playmaking rather than pace, seems to still have enough left in the tank. He controlled the tempo against the Dutch in the first half, bossing Frenkie de Jong, the young Ajax prodigy set for Barcelona, before fading a little with his team in the second. But the moment he took a difficult ball on his chest before setting Nico Schulz free to create Leroy Sane's opener was evidence of his enduring class.

Pace is non-negotiable

Of all the changes since the World Cup, the most critical - as simple as it sounds - has been an injection of pace. As well as Sané and Gnabry, Kehrer, Nico Schulz, Niklas Süle, Antonio Rüdiger and Leon Goretzka are all quicker than the players they've replaced, meaning Germany can now pose a serious threat on the counterattack in a way the World Cup side just couldn't. Methodical, possession-based play has given way to a quicker and less controlled style. It already looks more exciting, now it's a question of whether it can keep getting results.

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The players of Joachim Löw's 'new Germany'

Leroy Sané (17 caps)

The most controversial omission from Löw's World Cup 2018 squad and the most internationally experienced player on this list, Sané still has plenty to prove. After a frustrating start to his Germany career, he scored his first two goals in November and started to look the part. A key member of a Manchester City squad in the hunt for four trophies, his direct running and pace make him a huge asset.

The players of Joachim Löw's 'new Germany'

Serge Gnabry (5 caps)

The Bayern Munich right winger offers a similar threat to Sane on the other side of the pitch. An Olympic silver medal winner in 2016, Gnabry scored a hat-trick on his debut against San Marino later that year. But fitness issues and Löw's former faith in the old guard mean he hasn't yet fully established himself. A strong season so far for Bayern means that's liikely to change soon.

The players of Joachim Löw's 'new Germany'

Kai Havertz (2 caps)

The third member of an attacking-midfield trident that looks set to line up behind TImo Werner for some time, teenager Havertz has made great strides at the age of 19. The Bayer Leverkusen playmaker has racked up 79 Bundesliga appearances and become a key man for the Werkself. Mesut Özil's international resignation opened a spot for the youngster who has impressed in his displays so far.

The players of Joachim Löw's 'new Germany'

Jonathan Tah (4 caps)

Havertz's Leverkusen teammate was in Germany's Euro 2016 squad but missed out on Russia. His tally of caps since his debut three years ago speaks to his struggles to break into the side. But the culling of Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng offers a chance for center backs. At 23, Tah is enjoying one of his best seasons, particularly since the arrival of Peter Bosz. Can he become a regular?

The players of Joachim Löw's 'new Germany'

Thilo Kehrer (4 caps)

Another man looking to take advantage of defensive vacancies. Kehrer can play at center back but may end up as Germany's right back, with Löw keen on Joshua Kimmich in midfield. The 22-year-old left Schalke for Paris Saint-Germain and has become a regular in Thomas Tuchel's side. Quick and strong in the tackle and on the ball, Kehrer's concentration sometimes wanes but the potential is there.

The players of Joachim Löw's 'new Germany'

Maximilian Eggestein (0 caps)

A tidy central midfielder with an eye for goal, many thought the Werder Bremen man would make Germany's squad in November after both club and player enjoyed a strong start to the season. Though the early season goals have dried up a little, the 22-year-old has an importance to Bremen which belies his relatively tender years and will hope to make his international debut in the coming week.

The players of Joachim Löw's 'new Germany'

Niklas Stark (0 caps)

Another new face hoping to make his full Germany bow after progressing through the youth teams, Stark has enjoyed a strong season at Hertha Berlin. The Nuremberg academy graduate is a smart reader of the game and has become an increasingly influential figure at the capital city club since moving there in 2015. While most comfortable at center back, Stark can also play as a holding midfielder.

The players of Joachim Löw's 'new Germany'

Nico Schulz (4 caps)

One of a number of players given the chance to fill the troublesome left-sided defensive slot in recent years, Schulz is a solid performer for Hoffenheim. The Berlin-born 25-year-old is dangerous going forward and probably more of a natrual wingback, which gives him an advantage now that Löw is looking to play three at the back. Scored a deflected winner on his debut against Peru in September.

The players of Joachim Löw's 'new Germany'

Marcel Halstenberg (1 cap)

Another potential replacement for Jonas Hector, who seems to have fallen out of favor while in division 2with Cologne, the RB Leipzig left-back made his debut for Germany against England in 2017 but hasn't been seen in a Germany shirt since. At 27, he's a late bloomer, having failed to make the grade at Borussia Dortmund as a youngster, but his strong, direct style may suit Löw's new tactics.

The players of Joachim Löw's 'new Germany'

Lukas Klostermann (0 caps)

Another member of the Germany team that won silver at the Rio Olympics (which did not count as interntional caps) Klostermann is a marauding fullback comfortable bombing forward. A second RB Leipzig man, the right-sided 22-year-old has been an integral part of the Bundesliga's tightest defense this season and is another potential beneficiary of Kimmich's move in to midfield.