Keeping Philipp Lahm in midfield is a decision I just don’t understand as we face our toughest test yet against France.
If Joachim Löw sees it like that, then OK, but I do not think Lahm is disciplined enough in that position. He has played there for about 10 months. This position in midfield is all about vision – when you see things and how you see things. He does not have this experience and why should he after less than a year?
Lahm has to play at right-back, because we have better players in midfield. There is simply no point in letting one of the best right-backs play in midfield and having Bastian Schweinsteiger or Sami Khedira on the bench.
I believe this will be a very tough test for Germany. The French have played one whole extra-time less than us and they rested some key players in the third match of the group stage. In my opinion this will be incredibly difficult for Germany.
We have to control the match way better than we did against Algeria. I think the match will be decided in midfield and France have great players there with Yohan Cabaye, Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi.
Pogba is particularly impressive. He has the whole package – he is extremely physically strong for such a young player. He has pace and excellent technique. His understanding of the match is superb too. That is why they are crying more than one tear at Manchester United for letting him go.
I’m also concerned about Manuel Neuer’s risky approach. Some say it is progressive but I totally agree with Oliver Kahn when he described it as kamikaze. The upcoming match is at noon. The pitch won’t be wet and the balls won’t slide as much. You just need one situation where you evaluate things wrong and you get sent off. It is hard to criticise him for his performance against Algeria because everything went well. But to keep doing this regularly against quick players like Antoine Griezmann, or Karim Benzema, is very risky.
The French have often been held back by a lack of team spirit. Now they have this spirit and they have very good squad with very good players on the bench who can make the difference. I have been asked if whether not having Franck Ribery in their squad is a blessing in disguise for Didier Deschamps. That’s hard to say. Omitting Samir Nasri was a big decision by Deschamps and having a fit Franck Ribery would certainly have increased the quality of the squad, but I can’t say whether he would have affected the spirit.
I remember playing against France in Paris and we lost 1-0. Zinedine Zidane was playing that night and I had big problems combating him. We are going to have to be at our best to combat their midfield this time too.