Germany beat Australia in a five-goal game giving the coach plenty to digest. Four players stood out, one not necessarily for the best of reasons, while Löw’s inexperienced group gave him more food for thought.1. Brandt burning up the right wing
Brandt enjoyed his afternoon on the right wing because he was given space to run at Australia’s defense and hardly spent any time defending. Australia failed to stay tight to the Leverkusen winger and were it not for a few slips on the turf, the 21-year-old might have done even more damage. After a slightly disappointing club season, Brandt is clear to make sure that he spends his summer reminding Europe of his talents.
2. Go Goretzka!
The Confederations Cup might be a debatable tournament on many levels, but LeonGoretzka is using it to stake his claim for a spot in Germany’s final 23 when they return for the real thing next year. The Schalke man has fought off injury time and again in his youth (Goretzka is still just 22) and recently admitted in an interview with German football magazine that a change in diet has helped him feel better. That is evident on the field too. Against Australia, he attempted the most tackles (winning 69 percent when Germany, as a team, won fewer) and took a game-high seven shots, scoring what proved to be the winner just after the break. He has everything football expects from a modern German midfielder and if he can stay fit, Russia will be just the start.
3. Good goalkeepers
Germany have plenty of them, but can’t seem to settle on who should be the long-term replacement for Manuel Neuer when the Bayern Munich keeper calls time on his career. Granted, it is not an easy job being Germany’s number two or three. Comparisons to Neuer are unavoidable, but don’t help. Nevertheless, most other keepers have failed to impress when given the chance. Bernd Leno was poor against Australia, at fault for one and perhaps disappointed with Australia’s other goal. Kevin Trapp deserves a chance, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen, after a famously poor start to his international career, suddenly looks re-established as Germany’s number two.
4. Winning ways
Germany, albeit a much-changed Germany, were good in just enough passages of play to beat Australia. Perhaps against a stronger opposition the game would have ended in a draw. Yet despite Sandro Wagner missing two good chances in the first half, both central defenders too often looking passive rather than applying pressure, and Leno’s errors, Germany won. Clearly, looking at Joachim Löw’s selection, this is a chance for some of Germany’s other players to enjoy more regular time in the shirt. If they too exhibit a winning habit (and that’s without looking at the U21 outfit), then picking a 23-man squad for 2018 just got even harder for Löw.
5. Super Stindl
Lars Stindl spent a long time leading and saving Hannover 96, and not much changed when he joined Borussia Mönchengladbach either. At 28 and an attacking midfielder, Stindl was always going to struggle to be a part of the Germany team, but, perhaps unsurprisingly, here he is. He scored his first ever goal against Australia, looked the part and led by example. Even if for a moment, and even if it was just in the Confederations Cup, Lars Stindl smiling like a child at Christmas as he wheeled away in delight after scoring made him a bit of a tangible hero for long-term Bundesliga fans.