The German national soccer team has the qualification for the final tournament of the Nations League in their own hands. The team of national coach Joachim Löw defeated the Ukraine in Leipzig with 3: 1 (2: 1) and at the end of the year worked out a “final” in Spain on Tuesday (8.45 pm / ARD).
Leroy Sané (23rd) and Timo Werner (33rd, 64th) turned the game around with their goals after Roman Yaremchuk (12th) fell behind and gave goalkeeper Manuel Neuer a successful record game. With his 95th international match, the captain set Sepp Maier’s record for goalkeepers. Due to the success, the DFB selection has been unbeaten in twelve games since September 2019.
The European Football Union (Uefa), as the organizer, only gave the green light for the game a good four hours before kick-off. Previously, all corona tests were negative for both teams. The game had meanwhile been questionable because on Friday four Ukrainian players around ex-Dortmund’s Andrej Jarmolenko and team manager Wadym Komardin tested positive for the corona virus.
So Löw was able to approach his stated goal of “grinding in automatisms” with a view towards EM. For this, the national coach had considered a surprising tactical measure. Robin Koch initially let himself fall back into the chain of three from time to time when he was six. The DFB team switched between a 3-4-3 and a 4-1-2-3 system.
The well-known defensive problems became visible again after Leon Goretzka (3rd) had a first chance. Despite the return of defense chief Niklas Süle, the Ukrainians presented the four-time world champions with problems with their fast combination game.
When they conceded, Koch and Philipp Max did not get the situation in their own penalty area clarified, Yaremchuk gave Neuer no chance with his hard shot. This meant that the captain’s goal was early on to keep his record game without conceding a goal.
Goretzka took over the game
The hosts were only briefly shocked by the deficit. The strong Goretzka in particular took the game over. His ball win and a clever pass to Sane made it equal. The DFB team continued to dominate the game afterwards, but showed itself to be quite vulnerable in some counter-attack situations. Löw now ordered Ilkay Gündogan to join Koch on the double six, and the initial interchanges were discontinued.
Goretzka failed with his long-range shot at goalkeeper Andrej Pjatow (26th), then Koch initiated the opening goal with a thoughtful pass to the Munich man. Goretzka’s flank was headed by the ex-Leipzig Timo Werner at his old place of work. Loew applauded with satisfaction.
But after the change, the 60-year-old had to survive a moment of shock. Süle deflected a shot from Alexander Zintschenko (52nd) from the outside post. The hosts let themselves fall a little behind in this phase, but then quickly switched with their turbo trio at the top. Sané hesitated a little too long at his chance (57th), Serge Gnabry made a clear move (61st). Werner made it better after some good preparatory work by Gündogan and Matthias Ginter – this time Löw clenched his fist. In the 75th minute, Neuer was lucky when the ball hit the post after a shot by Marlos. Substitute Junior Moraes also hit Aluminum (82nd).
Central defender Antonio Rüdiger is missing in Seville after his second yellow card in the Nations League. Toni Kroos, who was suspended against Ukraine, will return.