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Review

Too much at once

Toni Kroos is supposed to be everything in the national team: clockmaker, playmaker and crisis manager. The midfielder is currently unable to cope with this.

Toni Kroos has always had clear ideas about himself. He didn’t suffer from a lack of self-confidence even at a young age. Today he calls his claim with regard to the national team “to exert a certain influence on and beside the pitch”. This influence has grown over the years, but the team has never needed it as urgently as it does now.

The DFB team and its coach Joachim Löw are currently going through their most difficult phase since the two-man relationship began, and they currently need support, a lot of support. And right now Kroos seems to have his problems with giving support. In the 3-0 debacle in Amsterdam against the Netherlands, he didn’t notice much or even nothing, the cross pass was his profession, Kroos, the self-confident one, seemed disoriented like everyone else, infected by the general uncertainty around him.

Kroos is the only remaining player from the 2014 World Cup final who is not playing for FC Bayern, so Munich’s sporting malaise can leave him cold. But Real Madrid, his club, is also in a deep state at the moment, he can hardly escape the crisis at the moment, it is everywhere he goes. Before the match in Amsterdam, he considered this “a challenge”, it was “a normal phase at the moment, when things don’t go like this for a few games,” he preached serenity in dealing with the crisis, but Kroos himself is a part of this crisis.

Weaknesses also shown in Russia

He was already negligent at the World Cup. The 0-1 win against Sweden was due to a gross mistake on his part, and it speaks for itself that he decided the game in the final minute with his brilliant free-kick. However, the winning goal also masked his weaknesses.

Kroos has extraordinary abilities, he can hardly be surpassed in the distribution of the balls on good days, then he works like a relay station. His shot on goal has been praised often enough, sometimes one would wish to see more of it in the game.

In the national team, standard situations are a matter of course for him. Free kick flashes like the one against the Swedes, however, are also countered by many schematically and predictably kicked corner kicks. This was exemplary against the Dutch. In the press gallery, there was a mockery in front of every Kroos corner of which Oranje defender would probably get the ball this time.

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He was never the leader

The now 28-year-old has a clear claim to leading this team. The “only German world-class player” he is sometimes called, when Kroos announced the continuation of his DFB career after the World Cup, the national coach immediately announced from his two-month post World Cup silence to praise his midfield primus exuberantly for it.  In playing Bonzo Spins, you can find many casino and slot games by the most prominent software providers.

Kroos has won the Champions League four times, no other German player can claim that, and yet he has always been more of a team player than a leader type, even though he perceives himself as such. Kroos has always needed side players to develop his strengths. And he doesn’t have that at the DFB at the moment.

At Real Madrid it’s the vacuum cleaner Casemiro who defensively relieves him, while in the national team it was Mesut Özil who relieved him of his role as playmaker. So it’s no coincidence that Kroos once had the term “interlude” invented for him. But now he has the feeling at the DFB that he has to do everything in midfield. He dares to do so, but it is not his destiny.

Kroos has said that his role in the national team “has hardly changed for years”. But that’s not right. Today he is no longer an intermediary, simply because there are no longer the players for whom he provided the space. Philipp Lahm, the brilliant defender, is no longer there, Mesut Özil, the offensive lurker, is no longer there either. Joshua Kimmich first has to grow into the role of the six player. Everything looks at Kroos. This is also too much for the man with the great self-confidence.