Just a quick one for now – the report on the last game in Astana is to be posted shortly, time has finally caught up with me with loads of other things going on. This report will need a little extra work as I am also hoping to submit it elsewhere.
OK, to the team news.
Following Friday’s game two players would be out injured – the unlucky Julian Draxler would be the first on account of his suffering a mild concussion, followed by Benedikt Höwedes who has a slight thigh strain. In their place, Nationaltrainer Joachim Löw has brought in one old face and one new ahead of tomorrow’s return match in Nürnberg: HSV’s left-sided utility man Marcell Jansen and Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder Patrick Herrmann.
Jansen’s recall is something of a surprise as many might have assumed his international career was over, but the twenty-two year old Herrmann has been shortlisted as a future international for a long while now. Not that I think either of them will get any game time.
Löw’s most significant statement however comes from a non-selection: the withdrawal of Mario Gómez from the squad clearly provided the coach the opportunity to name a replacement – yes, that man Stefan Kießling – but once again the Leverkusen man has been given the cold shoulder.
This can only mean that either the coach is either working towards a strikerless system or is genuinely not a fan of Kießling – I am beginning to think that the latter is true as I cannot see how any coach worth his salt cannot select a player who has scored more than a goal every two games in competitive matches for his club side this season.
The team would make it back safely following a massive round trip to the nether reaches of UEFA’s map, and tomorrow’s encounter at the Frankenstadion* should hopefully see a better performance in conditions that should be far more familiar: a vocal home crowd, a proper grass pitch and a kick-off time in the evening rather than at bedtime.
* I will continue to call it the Frankenstadion, as the constant sponsor-driven name-changing is becoming rather tedious. After six years as the wonderfully named Easy-Credit-Stadion, 1. FC Nürnberg’s famous ground is now currently called the Grundig-Stadion. Slightly better perhaps, but still not as good as Frankenstadion.