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Six things we've learned from Germany's tournament opener

They are awesome going forward, a little wobbly at the back, and are UEFA EURO 2016's possession kings so far; team reporter Steffen Potter dissects Germany's opening win.

Germany enjoyed their opening game against Ukraine
Germany enjoyed their opening game against Ukraine ©Panoramic

1) Germany's attacking game remains impressive ...

Some key players are missing, others might not be fully fit, but a lot of things still click for Germany when they go forward. Slick passing, good movement and great skills ensure they keep possession and can open up any defence, as they did at the FIFA World Cup two years ago. On Sunday, Ukraine's Andriy Pyatov was forced to make seven saves – more than any other keeper at UEFA EURO 2016 so far. "This team is a machine," Ukraine coach Mykhailo Fomenko concluded.

2) ... but the defence is fragile

Germany's defensive problems drew attention in the run-up to this tournament, and it is easy to see why. A solid but by no means spectacular Ukrainian side revealed weaknesses in the German team which might have been exploited in a more clinical fashion. They allowed Fomenko's men no fewer than 12 corners. "It wasn't easy for the defence – we have had to make several changes due to injured players," boss Joachim Löw conceded.

3) Mustafi question looms

Kroos: Germany deserved the points
Kroos: Germany deserved the points

Inevitably, there will be a Shkodran Mustafi question if Mats Hummels is fit to return against Poland. The Valencia central defender's opener against Ukraine was his first Germany goal, and he had a solid game – barring almost putting the ball into his own net after a misunderstanding typical of a makeshift back four. He will likely make way once Hummels returns, yet he could still be fielded as a right-back as he was during the early stages of the 2014 World Cup.

4) Khedira and Kroos massive

Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos both underlined how in-form they are. The Juventus man bossed the midfield, was agile and passed the ball really well, while Kroos – fresh from winning the UEFA Champions League – dictated play from behind him. Even though he scored, it will be hard for Bastian Schweinsteiger to steal one of their spots.

5) Possession the aim

Khedira expects Germany to improve
Khedira expects Germany to improve

Germany's 63% figure against Ukraine was the highest at these finals (and they have also made the most passes at UEFA EURO 2016). Obviously, this is how Löw intends them to play, delaying as long as possible to make changes which led to a more direct approach. "We passed the ball very well and reached the space between their lines, which is our way of playing," Kroos confirmed.

6) Counterattacking options

Remember when Germany dazzled the world with their counterattacking style during the 2010 World Cup? It's good to see this option is still available, as demonstrated by their second goal when they broke forward in numbers and sealed the points with a text-book counterattack. Fast players like André Schürrle, Mesut Özil and Leroy Sané provide these options.