Julian Nagelsmann has also conceded six goals in three games with the national team. Things should be different against Austria – but how?
Mats Hummels was right in the middle when the national team became football world champions with the “Ochsenkette” in the summer of 2014. The three, sometimes even four, tall central defenders in the defensive line in Brazil concentrated on defense, while others swirled up front.
After conceding 20 goals in the ten international matches so far in 2023, six in three games with national coach Julian Nagelsmann, Hummels answered the question about the former successful model before the end of the year this Tuesday (8.45 p.m.) in Vienna against Austria rather diplomatically.
“Ochsenkette, I don’t know whether that would be a big advantage or disadvantage,” said the 34-year-old Borussia Dortmund veteran. “I think it describes them more as defensive players. It all depends on how the team is put together as a whole.” There are “various variants that don’t just contain oxen.”
In the 2-3 win against Turkey in Berlin, Nagelsmann sent Antonio Rüdiger and Jonathan Tah into central defense, while Benjamin Henrichs defended on the right. And on the left Kai Havertz – but only in defensive movement, when he had possession of the ball the Arsenal professional became an offensive “joker”, as Austria coach Ralf Rangnick observed. Nagelsmann confirmed that he did not want to deviate from the basic system. Instead of Havertz, another professional could also play this role.
The fact that Hummels sat next to the national coach on the press podium on Monday is an indication that the 2014 world champion is moving into the starting line-up. For the solid Tah? For Rüdiger, who is head of defense but revealed his insecurities against Turkey? Like Niklas Süle, Tah can also play as a full-back, while Henrichs can switch sides. The squad also includes a rail player for the left side in David Raum.
Practice, practice, practice
“It’s a matter of training sessions together, games together, video sessions together that we’re getting there more and more,” said Hummels about the deficiencies in defensive work. “We are a team with very, very many, very good offensive people. It is quite conceivable that we might one day win 3-2 rather than 1-0, but that would also be completely okay.” The big task is to create balance. “Then we are an absolute top team,” said Hummels.
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