‘Mountain out of a molehill’. ‘Much ado about nothing’. ‘Storm in a teacup’. ‘Song and dance about nothing’. Apt metaphors to describe going overboard over minimal issues. An equivalent of using a grenade to go fishing: a tad unnecessary.
Some used this terms over Germany’s exit from the World Cup last June, Die Mannschaft’s failure to get past the first round of the global tournament for the first time since 1938 was a disappointing, but not quite disastrous. A capitulation, but not a calamity. They should put this behind them and regroup, that’s what Germany does after all.
So far, it looks like they’ve barely done either. Germany’s World Cup exit was met with finger-pointing, with most fingers pointed towards Mesut Ozil, who had the audacity to pose for photographs with Turkish president Recep Erdogan, and then go on to correct the most chances in the group stages.
Ozil retired from the national side due to what he called bouts of racism, while the suits and the boots at Germany’s chief club Bayern Munich were still on the Arsenal midfielder’s back, keen to wash their hands clean of any blame for Germany’s debacle in Russia.
Three months later, and Germany haven’t quite moved on from events in Russia. From coach Joachim Low confirming that Ozil turning his back on the national side is a permanent, to afterwards admitting his disappointment that the playmaker didn’t inform him of his decision before making an announcement. From Ilkay Gundogan admitting to being nervous right before making his entrance against France in the UEFA Nations League on Thursday, to Toni Kroos questioning Leroy Sane’s attitude beforehand.
Then there was Sane’s decision to leave the German squad after the France game, for ‘private reasons’. Admittedly, the reasons remain unbeknownst to the public, with some suggesting that it might have to do with the birth of a child rather than any fallout with the coach. But after Kroos’ comments over the Manchester City midfielder, and the fact that Sane was omitted from Germany’s squad for the World Cup in June, the public could be forgiven for conjecture and conclusions, however premature.
And then the Nations League. In Germany’s first
game in UEFA’s new competition, against the world champions, they had over 60% of possession, 581 completed passes, 10 corners, 13 shots, yet no clear-cut chance was created; similar problems.
Sure, that was against a side crowned world champions three months ago, and it was a first competitive (-ish) game for Die Mannschaft since that World Cup loss to South Korea in June, but Germany need results on the pitch, to at least mask whatever is going on off it. Wins, no matter how narrow or unconvincing, return focus back on events on the pitch rather than the national camp.
So, when they play Peru on Sunday, perhaps they should see it as a more than a friendly, a chance to start making amends, to start rebuilding bridges on the road to retribution. It might be nothing more than a game with the tag ‘FR’ beside it, but the fallen world champions are in a position where they can ill-afford setbacks, however minimal, however inconsequential they may seem.
There might just be a mountain brewing from that molehill.