Germany were ultimately dismantled on Tuesday night at the hands of a resilient Spanish side. Luis Enrique’s men were out for blood as they hit the four-time World Cup champions for six in the Nations League.
Despite fielding the likes of Timo Werner, Toni Kroos and Leroy Sane, the Germans were unable to register a single shot on target at the Estadio de la Cartuja. After 17 minutes, Spain opened up the scoreline and went on to really carve open a fragile-looking Germany defence.
One man who looked completely out of his depth was recent Leeds signing Robin Koch, who seriously struggled to handle the threat of the Spaniards. His performance will be one that has attracted Marcelo Bielsa’s attention, and not in the way he would have liked.
Koch’s stats would indicate to anyone that he had a strong game if they weren’t made aware of the mammoth scoreline. According to Sofascore, the 24-year-old completed four tackles, two interceptions, two blocks and one clearance. His numbers indicate that he threw his body on the line for his team and left nothing out on the pitch.
This would be admirable if his country didn’t lose the game by six goals to nil. The fact that Koch was able to put in so many defensive manoeuvres and yet Spain still managed to score a hatful just further highlights how strong Enrique’s men were and how badly they outplayed Germany.
Defence is something that is a problem over at Elland Road, too. Leeds are currently looking at facing Arsenal after being dealt back-to-back 4-1 defeats at the hands of Leicester and Crystal Palace. The Whites have the joint-worst ‘goals against’ record this season so far, matched only by West Brom, who are currently in the relegation zone.
Whilst Koch isn’t solely to blame for Germany’s loss, nor Leeds’ current situation, Bielsa will be looking at his team and wondering what is going wrong and how it can be fixed. The summer signing’s international performance only proves that he can be exposed as a defender, which the Whites must patch up before it’s too late.
During Germany’s recent fixture against Ukraine, Joachim Low switched up his tactics and deployed Koch in a defensive midfield role. This suited both the team and the £50,000 per week grafter down to the ground – the Germans won 3-1 and fans were pleading with Bielsa to follow suit and give Koch a new role in the Leeds set up.
If their poor run of form continues, it’s definitely an option Bielsa should consider.