Germany U21 Match Report vs. France U21 (23/09/2022)

France U21 visited Germany U21 for a friendly in Magdeburg that finished in a 1-0 loss. The Germans looked polished and the better side in the first half. They dominated possession and sat back comfortably as France watched them. Germany’s high aggressive press created their chances in a first half where they enjoyed their football. In contrast, the second half was when France turned it on. Feeling the urgency, their high press started to move in, and Germany cracked under the pressure, as the finishing and creation from the wing overwhelmed the defense. Amine Gouiri took a well placed shot from the left wing off a pass from Enzo Le Fee. That would go on to be enough to win it. While France used the wings and a more successful high hustle press to get their breakthrough in the second half and frustrate their opponents mentally and physically, Germany was able to use the counterattack and work from outside in using crosses and driven through balls to get the ball to Youssoufa Moukoko and Felix Nmecha in the box. The chances did not prove fruitful, and Antonio Di Salvo’s Germany U21 squad suffered a disappointing loss. 

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level 
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Luca Netz

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Germany
  • Age: 19
  • Date of birth: 15/05/2003
  • Club: Borussia Mönchengladbach
  • Career: FSV Bernau (Y), Hertha BSC
  • Position: Left Back
  • Preferred foot: Left

Luca Netz stands at 184 cm tall with an average frame and played 76 minutes at left back for Germany before being subbed off for Noah Katterbach. The youngest player in the squad not named Youssoufa Moukoko was possibly the best player in the first half for either squad. 

Netz was physically on a level playing field with players slightly older than him. His experience as a Bundesliga level player was clear in this match. When needing to use his body against opponents in this match, Netz looked like he was used to scrapping with grown men. Additionally, his recovery pace to get back on defence was okay, and his pace in general was decent, but nothing to write home about. His hips were fluid, though, and Netz proved plenty agile in defensive actions. 

Defensively, Netz came out attacking the ball with intelligence. He made a few interceptions by flashing up the field aggressively, anticipating the pass and where it was meant to go. When going in for these interceptions, he displayed burst with these split-second decisions. He did even better to never over pursue or lunge for the ball in these scenarios, as Netz aggressiveness did not catch him out of position. Throughout the match, Netz positioning was very effective, on and off the ball. On ball, he always kept a good cushion of space and closed down with good angles and flipped his hips well to follow the ball. This way, he forced the ball away from him with non-threatening passes or in one case, he stuck his foot in for a clean standing tackle with great anticipation to flip possession after a 1v1. That is a big attribute for Netz, his nose for the ball. He always seems to be in the right place to turn possession over. Off ball, Netz was able to always keep good positioning so that no opponent would think of trying him on a back post cross or anything. Netz had his head on a swivel and body open to the ball and man, making sure he knew where his marker was consistently. One bad moment that stuck out was a nice move with skill to beat him from Nathan N’Goumou. Netz tried to make a play with the ball in front of him, but N’Goumou was too quick and put the ball past him into the box to create imminent danger. Netz’s aggressive decision-making on defense could prove to cost him at a higher level. That overall aggressiveness translated to the press, though, as Netz was a pest for his French opponents trying to advance the ball. 

On the attack, he was not asked to be so aggressive. A lot of times he was staying back and making simple passes with his dominant left foot. There was not much of a right foot seen at all from him in this match. He also had nice control of the ball for a full back, carrying the ball well in those opportunities and getting some dribbles past defenders. Netz even threw in some ball fakes that got his opponents off balance. With pressure, though, Netz becomes a little hesitant and will make passes late, leading to interceptions or inability for his teammate to make a meaningful touch sometimes. Netz still needs space to operate comfortably. When he would get opportunities up the pitch in this match, he would always look to get creative. Due to France’s back line being rock solid in this game, Netz’s creativity did not take full effect or accuracy in this game, but he was able to put the French in danger. He showed an array of distribution. He swung in some crosses with accuracy and low bend. There was one instance where Netz cleverly pinpointed a through ball between two opponents for Yann Bisseck to win in the box and created a dangerous situation in the final third for France. Off the ball, Netz made a few key runs despite staying back while attacking for the most part. In one of Germany’s most threatening attacks of the match, Netz flew in back post for a cross and it was barely deflected in a good last ditch defensive effort before he could try to finish it. The other run he made a couple times was an inverted one from the wide area that he mainly roamed. Netz would dish a back pass and flash inside for the give and go. Di Salvo could have utilized Netz’s offensive traits in his tactics a lot better in this match. 

Rating – A1

Luca Netz had a dominant defensive performance on the left flank in the first half. The second half was somewhat lacklustre before he was subbed off, but most of his team struggled a bit in the second half, so I will not knock him too much for it. Netz showed attributes as an attacker in this match, too, that should have been recognized earlier to give them a better shot at levelling the score line. He truly looked like a Bundesliga left back in this match. The sky is the limit for Netz, potential-wise, as his defensive style is intriguing and the creativity on offence is what you want from a modern full back. 

Faride Alidou

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Germany
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 18/07/2001
  • Club: Eintracht Frankfurt
  • Career: ESV Einigkeit (Y), Hamburger SV
  • Position: Left Winger
  • Preferred foot: Right
  • Other position: Right Winger

Faride Alidou is a tall, physically mature 186 cm winger that started and played 64 minutes in this match and signed for Eintracht Frankfurt on a free transfer this summer. He started at left winger in both halves but spent time on the right, too, where he disappeared at times. Alidou has decent pace and uses his long body to glide smoothly across the pitch. He also uses his height and jumping ability in the air well, despite his inaccuracies with his headers in this match. Alidou also communicated constantly with his teammates. His work rate was inconsistent in this match, too, at times being super active and others just standing still. 

On offence, Alidou was not much to write home about in this one. He exclusively used his right foot, and the one time he used his left, he sailed a pass and turned the ball over. Alidou was at home cutting inside from the left but did not get many opportunities to do so. He was comfortable with the ball at his feet, especially moving inside but could work on his control as he would push the ball out too much and give defenders an opportunity at possession. Being as physically imposing as he is, though, he was able to win the ball back. This would probably not fly at a higher level, so Alidou’s dribble needs to be tighter to his foot. Although I have complaints about his ability on the ball, his natural ability and comfortability are quite clear. Alidou often asked for the ball at his feet and came to the ball, rather than make runs, although he did make more attacking runs in the second half before being subbed off. 

Alidou’s job for this German team was to flash for the ball near midfield and carry the ball to the attacking third before creating for himself or others. On the right wing, he was not too comfortable with this and passing to the outside rather than centrally got to him at times. One through ball had way too much weight on it and an opportunity was wasted. His passing otherwise was admirable though, as Alidou fit a few balls into tight spaces while making it look easy, on the left of course. Alidou’s passing chops were very respectable in this match but did not make up for his shortcomings in creating for himself and maintaining possession. 

Alidou came back as an extra body on defence for Germany in this match. He is a willing presser up the pitch, but at times his work rate stopped him from being the best presser he could be. With his imposing size and decent pace, I feel like he had more to offer their high press. He flashed what could be in a moment where he helped on defence and put his foot in for a tackle and played it back into defence to reset the play. As a defender, he does enough to get in the way and have okay positioning, and that is all that is needed from him as a winger. 

Rating – C

Faride Alidou showed me some things that I really like about his game and some things I don’t like in this game. I would like to see him utilized a little better before I pass judgement, though. He was not utilized in his best role and a lot of the players out there with him were probably above his level. His physical traits and ability as a passer are enough for him to be a good potential player and I can see why he got a national team call-up. Alidou just did not prove he is ready for this stage during this match. I do wonder if he could play striker as a target man with his size and style, but right winger is surely not a position I want to see him in. Another watch of Alidou on the left wing will be needed.

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