Germany’s Plan B Proves to be Too Good for Hungary

Germany beat Hungary 2-0 in their Group A encounter on Wednesday in Stuttgart. The hosts qualified for the round of 16. They had earlier thrashed Scotland 5-1 in their first match.

Jamal Musiala and İlkay Gündoğan scored for Die Mannschaft on the day to ensure their victory. Julian Nagelsmann’s side will face Switzerland in their last group match on Sunday.

Germany’s Alternate Tactic Left Hungary Stunned

Germany ran riot against Scotland in their first match with their astute passing and crossing inside the opposition half. However, the Hungarians decided to crowd the middle third and press intensely in it to frustrate the Germans. Their intent to make interceptions in the middle third took the Germans by surprise.

Hungary almost always had all their players behind the ball, but did not allow the Germans go too deep into their half. Instead, they tried to win back possession in the midfield itself, thereby not allowing the German midfielders and forwards the luxury of exchanging frequent passes among themselves in the middle third.

That tactic paid off during the initial 15 minutes, as the hosts struggled to create openings initially in the match. However, the Germans then came up with a plan B that paved the way for their success. They started playing long balls to their forwards, which negated the Hungarian press in the middle of the pitch to a great extent.

In addition to that, their full-backs started playing crosses into the opposition penalty box from the flanks frequently. The Germans also switched to a 3-5-2 at times, with Toni Kroos continuing to play as the left-sided centre-back for a considerable portion of the match, just as he did against Scotland.

Gündoğan, meanwhile, played in an advanced role alongside Kai Havertz to enable Germany to have two players upfront. The ploy worked, as Gündoğan’s presence inside the Hungarian penalty box was the common factor in the two goals scored. The 33-year-midfielder also registered an assist to help Musiala score the first goal of the match. He used to make those useful runs into the opposition penalty box quite frequently while playing for Manchester City, and that ability was on display once again on Wednesday.

As he scored the second goal for Germany from a cross from the left, the victory for them was ensured. The hosts have looked really good in their first two matches and remain one of the favourites to win the title.

Nagelsmann Used Players From the Bench

Nagelsmann used up all his options for substitution in the second half, giving a fringe player like Deniz Undav some game time. He also introduced Leroy Sané, Emre Can and Niclas Füllkrug to give some of his regular starters some rest.

With a place in the next round confirmed, Germany can take things easy to a certain extent in their next match against Switzerland. While they will still want to win that match to ensure top spot in Group A, they can still afford to give their non-regular starters some more game time in it.

The Germans look good for making a deep run into the tournament on home soil. It remains to be seen whether they are able to end their title-drought spanning 28 years at European level.

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