How Robin Koch needed that.
After successive 4-1 defeats in the colours of Leeds United and a decisive mistake in that humiliating home loss against Leicester City, the £13 million German was crying out for a two-week break to clear his mind and rebuild lost confidence.
And the West Yorkshire faithful will be thrilled to learn that, in a 1-0 triumph over the Czech Republic last night, Koch looked like a man who has put a chastening Premier League fortnight behind him already.
The former Freiburg stopper was a pillar of strength at the heart of Joachim Low’s three-man back line, ensuring an experimental Germany side survived a late Czech charge in Leipzig.
One courageous defensive header in the second half, in which Koch brilliantly denied Matej Vydra a clear shot at goal, was as integral to the win as Luca Waldschmidt’s first-half winner.
“With Robin Koch, every action was solid,” World Cup-winning coach Low told WN of a man who was winning his fifth cap.
“He ironed out mistakes and was well organised as the central defender.”
With Antonio Rudiger and Jonathan Tah struggling for game time at Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen respectively, Koch has suddenly become a key figure in a transitional Germany team desperate to put that 2018 embarrassment behind them at next summer’s European Championships.
In fact, the Germans have kept just two clean sheets in five games since November 2019.
It’s no coincidence both those have come with Koch starting at centre-half.