Germany formation against Ghana sheds light on Klinsmann’s roots


When the German formation to play Ghana was released, there was a striking familiarity to it.

If you noticed it too, that’s because US fans have seen it before.

Jurgen Klinsmann played exactly the same 4-3-2-1 formation in their match against Ghana, as well as against Nigeria in the final friendly of the send-off series.

In fact, it’s so similar, you can pick out direct comparisons in player styles between the two teams.

The official match printout doesn’t hide the similarities, with even the layout exactly the same:

After the game, the Germans described their formation as a 4-2-3-1, but viewing the players involved, and you can see the direct correlation.

Philipp Lahm in the holding role = Kyle Beckerman.  Tony Kroos at the wing, a player who can run a lot and play both forward and back = Alejandro Bedoya. Sami Khedira, normally a defensive midfielder tasked with clogging the middle on defense and stretching wide on offense = Jermaine Jones.

[ MORE: Three areas of focus for the U.S. against Portugal ]
[ POSNANSKI: Confidence and the unconventional Klinsmann ]

Then you move forward.  Mesut Ozil, known for his dynamic abilities and versatility = Clint Dempsey. Mario Gotze (while this isn’t the best of comparisons) is an attacking midfielder who relies on creativity through the middle to produce for teammates = Michael Bradley.

Obviously there’s a gap in quality, but the styles are almost exactly the same in every position.

Now the question becomes, did Germany use this layout thanks to the US victory over Ghana, or is it something they’ve utilized in the past? The answer is it’s been used before, as they employed the exact same lineup in the 4-0 victory over Portugal.

So, as we can see, while Klinsmann has been successful molding his abilities and coaching styles to the players available to him in the United States, there are still German roots he taps into on occasion, and the victory over Ghana was one of them.

The downfall for Germany came in their midfield.  Philipp Lahm and Sami Khedira both had a poor games in their holding roles. They combined for just one lone tackle completed, and their marking was poor, which allowed Ghana to build better chances up the middle.

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In comparison, Jermaine Jones and Kyle Beckerman combined for seven tackles and two interceptions, and Jones was a beast in the air.  As a result, if forced Ghana much further wide. In addition, Toni Kroos had a great game passing, but his side was vulnerable to the Ghanian attack, and they took advantage:

Photo credit: FourFourTwo
Photo credit: FourFourTwo






As you can see, there was much more available for Ghana in the middle against Germany, and everything against the United States came from out wide.

It could be argued that in this formation that’s obviously rooted in German soccer, the United States deployed it better than the origins of the style.

The goal was a war of attrition against the Ghanians, and the United States won, whereas the Germans couldn’t pull it off.

MLS Snapshot: Colorado Rapids 1-2 Real Salt Lake

SANDY UT - MARCH 14: Olmes Garcia #13 of Real Salt Lake celebrates his goal during their game against the Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 14, 2015 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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The game in 100 words (or less): Real Salt Lake stays alive in the hunt for a playoff berth in the Western Conference with a crucial 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. After falling behind early, RSL scored twice before halftime and held onto the lead for the rest of the match, moving within three points of the final playoff spot in the West. Real Salt Lake has three matches remaining, including a massive clash against the Portland Timbers, which will pretty much decide their season. For Colorado, it’s another year without playoff soccer.

[ MORE: FC Dallas clinches playoff berth ]

Three moments that mattered

16′ — Doyle heads Colorado into the lead — The former Premier League man gave the home side an early lead, thanks to a powerful header from quite a bit out. Sean St. Ledger played in a cross, where Doyle snapped a header into the top corner past Nick Rimando.

33′ — Joao Plata bends in the free kick — Trailing 1-0, Joao Plata drew RSL level with a brilliant free kick. Plata’s shot dipped over the wall and under the crossbar, as Clint Irwin stood helpless in goal for Colorado.

43′ — Mulholland fires home a volley to put RSL ahead — Luke Mulholland scored his first goal of the season, and it was a beauty. A corner kick popped out to the midfielder at the top of the box, as he rifled a shot off the bounce and into the side netting.

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Man of the match: Luke Mulholland

Goalscorers: Doyle (16′), Plata (33′), Mulholland (43′)

Wenger lauds team spirit following Arsenal’s big win

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Arsenal put on a superb performance against Manchester United today, flying out to a three-goal lead in the opening 20 minutes of the match.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 3-0 Manchester United ]

United was stunned by the fast-paced, free-flowing Arsenal attack, unable to recover from the Gunners’ early dominance.

All of this came on the heels of a disappointing loss to Olympiacos in the Champions League, after which many questioned manager Arsene Wenger and his side.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s win vs. Manchester United ]

Following the big 3-0 win at the Emirates, Wenger praised his team’s spirit, saying there were outstanding performances throughout the side.

You go from Petr Cech up to Theo Walcott, and we had only outstanding performances. Sometimes we have that magic side in our game.

[Against Olympiacos] maybe we lacked a little bit of urgency and discipline, and that’s why we lost the game. But let’s not forget, last Saturday we won 5-2 at Leicester. Today we beat Man United 3-0.

[The players] have shown that we have an outstanding spirit in the squad. To respond the way we did after what happened to us, you need to have an exceptional spirit.

The Gunners’ performance today immediately silenced all the critics, as Wenger’s side put out on a display that many have been waiting for all season. The combination play of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott was brilliant, as Santi Cazorla continued to impress in the center of the midfield.

Wenger’s teams have not always been known to show strong heart and resiliency, but that’s exactly what they showed today against a Manchester United side that was in great form. Now sitting second on the table, Arsenal continues to climb up the Premier League.