Germany versus Austria: Discussion about Kimmich and Gündogan

As of: November 21, 2023 10:05 a.m

The question of whether Joshua Kimmich and lkay Gündoğan fit together as a double six is ​​also about who is more willing to give up the ball and keep an eye on the defense. With the Italian prototypes Pirlo and Gattuso the division was clear.

Marcus Bark

Joshua Kimmich will play his 82nd international match against Austria in Vienna on Tuesday evening (November 21st, 2023, 8:45 p.m./ZDF and in the audio live stream and live ticker at

Have Kimmich substitutions Rarity value

Apart from the opponent, the time and the broadcasting station, this would have been a claim for years with only a theoretical chance of being wrong. In the meantime, the possibility should at least be considered, because something monstrous happened in Berlin on Saturday. Kimmich was substituted in the 2-3 defeat against Turkey. This happened to him in his first international match in 2016 and only four times after that, for example in a 6-0 win against Armenia. After an hour he was allowed to leave the field to rest a bit. In 79 of his 81 international matches, Kimmich experienced the kick-off on the field.

Sports show, November 21st, 2023 8:43 p.m

Such statistics tempt one to simply claim that Kimmich will play without the respective national coach having explicitly announced this. The day before the game in Vienna, Julian Nagelsmann avoided the question of whether Kimmich would play. That was already newsworthy in days when there was discussion about how, where and with whom Kimmich wanted to play.

Defensive protection on counterattacks is problematic

The discussion was sparked by the person who played the most games for the elite selection of the German Football Association, Lothar Matthäus. It doesn’t fit that Kimmich and İlkay Gündoğan are too similar in the game system, said Matthäus on “RTL”. The German team has now conceded at least one goal in nine games in a row, and the opponents also had great chances after counterattacks.

The composition of the midfield has often been discussed in recent years because there were too many players whose level was suitable for a position. Unlike full-backs and center forwards, the assumption was that things were going well in midfield.

However, the more counterattack goals the German team conceded and the more often they left a tournament early, the more people said: Oops, we don’t have a Gattuso anymore.

Who is the “holding six”?

Gennaro Gattuso was never a German national player either. But he looked scarier at work than, say, Bastian Schweinsteiger or Sami Khedira. He became world champion with Italy in 2006, as part of a “double six” together with Andrea Pirlo. Anyone who claimed that Pirlo and Gattuso were too similar in terms of playing skills would be excluded from a football quiz. Pirlo was the artist for whom Gattuso had to win the ball.

There are examples of compositions that were and are less contradictory, but still successful. But there is also a desire for the “holding six” in Germany, fueled by Bayern Munich coach Thomas Tuchel. That’s what the modern Gattusos are called, they are strong in duels, have an eye primarily on defense and especially on protecting themselves against counterattacks. An important component that comes into play in the case of the Gündoğan and Kimmich duo:

Everyone knows and accepts who is more like Pirlo and who is Gattuso.

Gündogan appointed captain?

Both Kimmich and Gündoğan want to have the ball, build up the game, play the through passes, as Kimmich did so brilliantly in the first half on Saturday. However, Leroy Sané missed the great opportunity.

Instead of Germany taking a 2-0 lead, Turkey turned the game around and won. Kimmich was substituted, Gündoğan, captain for several months, remained on the pitch. So the hierarchy seems to be cemented, especially since Kimmich always has the question of whether he wouldn’t help much more as a right defender anyway.

Few arguments for Kimmich’s favorite place

Kimmich has recently collected few arguments for keeping his favorite place in defensive midfield (where Nagelsmann basically sees him). Five of his last six international matches were lost, including a 3-3 draw against Ukraine. He was missing from the win against France under interim coach Rudi Völler, as well as from the win against the USA and the draw against Mexico. The claim that Pascal Groß is playing alongside Gündoğan in Vienna is not that bold