Julian Brandt & Timo Werner: What did we learn about Liverpool’s German targets vs. England?

Julian Brandt and Timo Werner, two of Liverpool’s reported summer targets were in action for Germany in Wednesday night’s 1-0 win over England.


A lone piece of excellence from Lukas Podolski on his international farewell sealed a friendly victory for Joachim Low’s side, though England were arguably the better side in Dortmund.

The likes of Michael Keane, Jake Livermore, Adam Lallana and Dele Alli all impressed for the visiting side, but Germany’s much-changed lineup will settle for a scrappy win at the Westfalenstadion.

Aside from Lallana, Emre Can and the unused Nathaniel Clyne, Jurgen Klopp will have had an interest in two particular talents if reports are to be believed.

So how did Bayer Leverkusen winger Brandt and RB Leipzig forward Werner fare against the Three Lions?

And where would they fit in if they made the move to Merseyside in the summer?

 

Julian Brandt

Germany's Julian Brandt March 2017 (Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport)

With Low opting to a field a variation on a 4-2-3-1 formation, Brandt started Wednesday’s clash on the right wing, with Leroy Sane on the left and Lukas Podolski operating as second striker.

Lining up against England’s new-look 3-4-2-1 formation, Germany employed a half-press early on in order to test the waters.

Southgate’s side were certainly the more threatening side in the opening stages, but there were already signs that the fluidity of Germany’s system could cause damage.

Brandt was happy to drop deep and interchange with the likes of Werner and Podolski, and it wasn’t long before he had switched roles completely, moving to the left wing within the first 15 minutes.

While he is a hugely versatile player, this is a more natural role for the 20-year-old, and allowed Low to utilise his physicality against the more adventurous of England’s wing-backs, Kyle Walker.

Using this as his typical starting position, Brandt continued to switch with Sane, Werner and Podolski, even serving as a No. 9 at stages, but he was far from the most effective.

At the end of the first half, Brandt had made just 23 touches of the ball, making no shots on goal or creating no chances, with Sane outshining him by laying on four opportunities for his team-mates.

Emerging from the tunnel after the interval, Brandt almost made a telling impact with low, powerful shot from outside of the box with his left foot, showing his ability on both feet.

But replaced by Andre Schurrle just before the hour mark, the Leverkusen winger will have hoped for more, despite showing his versatility and industry in a rapidly shifting role.

 

Timo Werner

After conceding that it would be “special” to hear You’ll Never Walk Alone at Anfield, all eyes were on Werner as he made his Germany debut in front of a packed crowd in Dortmund.

The 21-year-old has scored 14 and assisted six in 24 games for Leipzig in the Bundesliga this season so far, earning his opportunity to impress Low.

Starting up front alongside Podolski, like Brandt, Werner was equally happy to drift into wide areas, particularly on the right, where he played 16 times in his 103 outings for former club Stuttgart.

A different prospect to the likes of Thomas Muller and Mario Gomez, Werner utilised his pace and youthful energy in a high-intensity duty leading the line.

The youngster continually put pressure on Joe Hart and the England defence with his willingness to press, and this earned Podolski an opening on 16 minutes, following a slip-up from Ryan Bertrand.

His role shifted along with Brandt’s, moving to the left wing while the Leverkusen winger took up the mantle as No. 9 and then back again, showing his versatility in a fluid system.

But, much like Brandt, Werner’s half-time statistics painted a picture of the game: he made just 12 touches, completed 66.7 percent of his passes and lost possession on three occasions.

He persevered after the break, and was there for the tap-in after Keane’s mistake on 73 minutes, but a rare lapse in judgment from Sane saw the Man City winger instead opt for a wayward shot.

Werner was substituted with 13 minutes left to play, and while he pressed and blended positions well, it was certainly a quiet debut, given little service up front despite the speed and creativity of Sane.

 

How Would They Fit in at Liverpool?

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 11, 2017: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp before the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match against Southampton at St. Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ultimately, given the lack of quality on show at the Westfalenstadion in what turned out to be a fitting testimonial-lite for Podolski, little can be concluded about Brandt and Werner’s displays.

But in flashes on Wednesday night, the duo suggested where they could fit in if Klopp did push to secure their signings in the summer.

Most notably, Brandt’s improvement when moved out to the left wing served as an indicator of his potential role on Merseyside, with the former Wolfsburg youth likely earmarked as an alternative to Philippe Coutinho.

His ability to cut inside onto his right foot could allow him to emulate the Brazilian, while his industry and physicality would see him suit Klopp’s 4-3-3 system.

Werner, meanwhile, is a little more difficult to place, given the differences between him and Klopp’s current first-choice striker, Roberto Firmino.

But with question marks over the futures of Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and Danny Ings at this stage, Klopp could require further options in his forward line next season.

The Leipzig youngster’s ability to operate in a variety of roles in attack would provide this, and it could be that Werner would arrive as cover for Sadio Mane in what is likely to be a busy 2017/18.

While they were unable to made a decisive impact in Dortmund, both Brandt and Werner are high-potential talents already proven in the Bundesliga.

And if either did make the move to Liverpool this summer, they would no doubt thrive under Klopp.

More from This Is Anfield


Fan Comments