Of all of the new international strips launched recently, the Germany second strip has attracted the most attention.
The intimidating all-black outfit was used against Iceland at home and then away to Romania, both games resulting in victories. As a kit, I don’t dislike it, but the completist in me would have preferred white trim and shorts so as to match up better with the first-choice kit (left). That Germany have two sets of black shorts isn’t ideal, but I can understand why that is the case.
But my view is only one and I may not be the best person to provide one, so I canvassed for others. First up, Rick Joshua of the Schwarz Und Weiss website – he’s a fan, but with one or two misgivings.
“As far as Germany away shirts are concerned, as a bit of a traditionalist I always favoured the old-school green. However when the first darker style – what could be best described as charcoal grey – was rolled out for the 2002 World Cup, I thought that it had a certain thing about it. Cue the first black Trikot being rolled out for the DFB in 2004 (right, later replaced by the first red version for the Confederations Cup the following year) and then the striking black with gold and red trim classic worn in the 2010 World Cup.
“March 2021 finally saw the release of the third all-black DFB shirt, delayed by a year due to the coronavirus. When I first saw the leaked design in late 2019 I was looking forward to it, more so for the move towards a pure ‘all-black’ look with the adidas logo, three arm stripes and national crest all in a dark charcoal grey. Having finally taken possession of an official replica version, it is definitely right up there as among the best-looking of the Trikots released by the DFB in recent years.
“Looking more closely at the design, there is an unique pattern consisting of very small hexagonal shapes which give it a space-age look – some may say almost like reptilian armour. I would even fancy a bet that the designer took his or her inspiration from the film Black Panther“. The look is clearly minimalist, with the only colour cues coming in the form of the sleeve edges that have dark red and old gold bands, and a subtle flag design on the back of the collar.
“It is, however, the collar – or rather the neck – which is this design’s only possible weakness. It has clearly been inspired by first adidas Equipment designs of the early 1990s, but here it has a rather generic look. Against the very sharp and modern lines of the rest of the design, this ‘squared-off v-neck’ looks out of place. A regular v-neck – or even a round neck like the home shirt would have created a better look. A scalloped round neck – like that of the famous 1990 Trikot (left) – could have made this one of the most memorable designs to have come out of Herzogenrauch.
“The only other negative, perhaps, is that the player names and numbers are in a highly contrasting silver, which grates with the overall look. A darker grey, or the old gold used on the sleeve trim – would have made for a far better overall look.”
Similarly, Tom from The Shirt Union likes the shirt but, like Rick, he feels that a better colour could have been used for the numbers.
“Cuffs! That’s immediately where the eye is drawn to courtesy of the blackout design which accentuates the gold and red, hugging the bicep. We typically associate blackout shirts with limited-edition runs, or third-choice shirts, and it’s very rare that we see them as a staple of a nation’s shirt line-up. But that’s exactly what Die Mannschaft have done here and it looks superb. What’s more, this isn’t a blackout shirt for the sake of marketing and an extra product stream. Black is obviously one of the three core colours derived from the German flag, of which the other two make up the cuffs, combining for a very patriotic sleeve. The nameset, however, lets the shirt down slightly. I can take or leave the typography, but the bigger gripe is with the chosen white colour. It really feels like a missed opportunity to have gone with a gold or red accent to compliment the shirt’s design. Thankfully, namesets are optional, so I’ll be keeping mine plain.”