DFB bankruptcy against Japan: Flick's mistake: The national coach is partly to blame for the bitter defeat

What a shock.

DFB bankruptcy against Japan: Flick's mistake: The national coach is partly to blame for the bitter defeat

What a shock. The 2-1 defeat against Japan at the start of the World Cup in Qatar is the worst possible result for the national team to start the tournament. Reaching the round of 16 seems like wishful thinking given their next game against strong Spaniards who shaved Costa Rica 7-0. Losing is an impact hit and that was evident to the protagonists in the post-game interviews.

With gloomy faces, Thomas Müller ("It's ludicrous that we're standing here with a defeat") or Ilkay Gündogan ("The way the goals came, that shouldn't happen to us") tried to find words for the unbelievable twist that this game had experienced. Germany was the better team for a long time and led 1-0 until the game suddenly tipped over after a system change and the substitution of national coach Hansi Flick. Within eight minutes, the Japanese scored two goals (75th and 83rd minutes) and turned the game in their favor.

When Hansi Flick came to the ARD studio after the final whistle to explain the inexplicable, expert Bastian Schweinsteiger was in the process of mercilessly tearing apart the performance of the national team. Schweinsteiger said things like: "It's really disappointing that we lose a game like that, but I think it also shows where we're at right now, well, and what mistakes we saw again today, that's no coincidence, the we had it in the other games too." Or in short: "That's not ripped off, that's not experienced, that's not clever enough either."

Flick, whose face also showed the shock of his team's strange breakup, didn't say much anymore: "It's brutally disappointing. I don't just think about myself, about the whole coaching team, but of course about the players too," he summed up the emotional situation together. It was quickly agreed that Niklas Süle, whom Flick had placed on the defensive right flank, made the crucial mistake before the Japanese team scored the winning goal.

The mistakes of the German team are quickly summarized. First, they failed to score the second despite numerous excellent opportunities. The missed double chance by Jonas Hofmann and Serge Gnabry was an example. A few minutes later, the Japanese equalized through Ritsu Doan. Secondly, Flick's team found no answer to the opponent's sudden offensive power and defended amateurishly at times. The defensive behavior before the first goal was unambitious (Havertz, Süle, Goretzka).

When the Japanese scored the second, Süle canceled the offside on a long ball by the Japanese. Takuma Asano from VfL Bochum had a clear path and was no longer disturbed by Nico Schlotterbeck when he chased the ball into the German goal from a short distance and from an acute angle. It will be interesting to see if the two will play against Spain. The formation of Schlotterbeck in such an important game came as a surprise anyway, as the defender in the national team had already allowed himself two mistakes (caused penalty kicks without motivation).

The blatant individual dropouts and the lack of exploitation of chances were a factor in the defeat, which probably means losing the preliminary round again at this World Cup. But it was noticeable that Flick's substitutions contributed to the game tipping over. When he got Ilkay Gündogan and Thomas Müller, the most experienced players in the squad alongside Neuer, off the pitch, the game finally tipped over. Goals were conceded shortly after. It was understandable that he replaced Müller, who had been injured for a long time and is not yet completely fit again. But with Gündogan he took the pace out. The rupture followed.

Of course, a coach is not responsible for individual mistakes made by his players, but he is responsible for the overall work of art, for the right mix. He controls the national team. And the mistakes that happened now in the game against Japan didn't happen for the first time. Since Flick started, the national team has been struggling with the same problems (see Schweinsteiger), and it seems as if the coach can't get a grip on them. Sometimes Flick seems perplexed by the weaknesses the players are showing.

Flick has so far been sacrosanct. But should the German team fail again in the preliminary round, that should weaken their position. Yet it is not so far. But: who still thinks that the team has a chance against Spain? If you look at the current form, a win hardly seems possible. The national team would have a lot to make up for after the 0:6 swatter in the last duel against Spain.