Earlier today I described the German side for this evenings meeting with Poland as a C-Elf, and it appears that Kicker Online agrees, calling tonight’s lineup a Dritte Anzug. In my last pre-match post I would name a side with as much experience that could have been mustered from the initial squad, but it appears that Jogi Löw is going for broke with what can probably be described as the most inexperienced eleven to ever start in a full international for the Nationalmannschaft.
With a total of thirteen caps between them, an average age of just over twenty-one and eight debutants including two teenagers, the most experienced in terms of age is twenty-five year old goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler and in terms of on-pitch experience twenty-year old Julian Draxler – who becomes the youngest-ever captain of the German national team – with ten full caps.
1 min It’s a wet evening in Hamburg, and Spanish referee David Fernández Borbalán gets things under way. The home side in their new all-white Trikot, and the Poles in all red.
4 mins. A slow start from both sides, but Germany break down the left through Kevin Volland who wins a corner.
6 mins Jogi’s Jungs are keeping the ball well, and out of nothing skipper Draxler wins another corner which is again easily cleared away by the Polish defence for another corner.
7 mins. The third corner again comes to nothing, and teenage debutant Max Meyer runs the ball out of play under pressure from Ludovic Obraniak.
8 mins. Poland make their first foray into the German half, but ‘keeper Zieler collects safely.
10 mins. Draxler continues to make good progress down the left, and wins another corner. The skipper takes it himself and the powerfully-built Antonio Rüdiger gets a head to it, but the Poles are able to clear their lines.
12 mins. No real opportunities as yet, but the home side have made a decent enough start.
13 mins. The men in white make their way forward again, and Draxler has a shot from the edge of the area with his right foot that flies wide of the target.
16 mins. Leon Goretzka makes a good run down the right and send in a decent cross which is cleared for yet another corner. Volland’s kick flies across the Polish penalty area and once again the red-shirted defence are able to clear the danger.
18 mins. Poland win a free-kick out on the right and Thiago Cionek can only get his shoulder to Obraniak’s floating ball which ends up in the safe hands of Zieler.
21 mins. There are a few whistles from the crowd, but this has been to complain about so far from this young German side.
22 mins. Matthias Ginter is forced into taking a leap over the advertising hoardings as Slawomir Peszko chases the ball to the byline.
24 mins. Poland win their first corner out on the right, and and the German defence fall asleep as Marcin Robak flashes a header over the target.
25 mins. The first real chance for the Mannschaft. Draxler crosses in from the left and the ball finds Goretzka at the far post who is unable to get a clean contact. ‘Keeper Artur Boruc collects.
27 mins. It’s corner number six for Germany, and this one ends up straight in the hands of Boruc.
28 mins. Germany win a free-kick some thirty yards out, but Draxler’s attempt to dink the ball into the box is overhit and easily collected by Boruc.
30 mins. Despite the solid start the home side are unable to break a hole in what is a tight and well-drilled Polish defence. At the other end Obraniak gets a decent effort in on target but Zieler is well-positioned to gather the ball.
32 mins. Draxler and Schalke team-mate Meyer combine well again down the left and win another corner. This time the Eckball is well delivered and Antonio Rüdiger meets it brilliantly. The Stuttgart man’s header is on target but cleared off the line by Peszko.
33 mins. Another corner this time on the right, but again Volland’s kick is gobbled up by Boruc.
35 mins. Meyer lifts a lovely ball into the box for Volland, who looks as though he is bundled aside by Paweł Olkowski. It’s one of fifty-fifty decisions, and on this occasion the Spanish referee waves play on.
36 mins. Poland attack down the left and Ginter hacks the ball away for a corner. The Poles are unable to make anything of though and German clear easily.
38 mins. Scarved and suited, Nationaltrainer Jogi Löw is looking pensive on the touchline. His team has produced a solid display but little of the spark one might have expected.
39 mins. Draxler dances down the left and after toying with his marker finally gets the ball into the opposition box, but there are no other white shirts available.
43 mins. There’s yet another charge down the middle by the Mannschaft but once again they are unable to produce the killer pass in the final third.
44 mins. Jakub Wawrzyniak almost gets in behind the German defence but after initially being wrong-footed Rüdiger does well to keep the Polish forward at bay as the ball rolls behind for a goal kick.
45 mins. The referee calls time in what has been a large uninspiring first half. There have been few mistakes from Jogi Löw’s side, unsurprising given their zero-risk approach. Apart from the one effort from Rüdiger, there has been little to worry the Polish defence.
There a couple of changes for the Mannschaft, with the experienced Benni Höwedes and another debutant André Hahn coming on for Rüdiger and Goretzka. There’s also a change in goal with Marc-André ter Stegen replacing Zieler.
46 mins. Poland restart.
47 mins. Oliver Sorg sends in a high cross into the Polish box which is easily collected by Boruc.
49 mins. Poland make a rare foray into the German half but the attacks break down, leaving the men in white to charge down the right. Hahn does well to win the ball but his cross is poor.
50 mins. Meyer has a half-chance but send his shot high over the bar.
53 mins. Draxler now gets a sight at goal but his shot from distance flies high into the stands. Polish coach Adam Nawałka now makes three changes, with Arkadiusz Milik, Karol Linetty and Michał Żyro coming on for Robak, Obraniak and Peszko.
54 mins. Another well-weighted Draxler cross is almost collected by Schalke team mate Höwedes, but the ball runs away from him and in to the arms of Boruc.
57 mins. It’s the Schalke show as Draxler and Höwedes fashion an opportunity for Meyer, but the teenager’s first-time shot lacks power and Boruc once again is easily behind it.
62 mins. The game is now at walking pace, and everyone is resorting to hopeful long-range efforts. This time it’s Sorg, whose short from well over thirty yards flies harmlessly over the goal.
66 mins. Poland make a break down and right and find some space, but ter Stegen spots the danger early and charges out of his area to clear.
67 mins. Poland are starting to crank things up a little but are offering little in the way of a direct threat, and another German break comes to nothing. It’s all a bit lifeless and flat out there, and nobody has really made a showing in chasing those precious places in the final World Cup squad.
70 mins. There’s a fourth change for Germany as Volland is replaced by Eintracht Frankfurt right-back Sebastian Jung.
75 mins. There’s a break in the satellite signal here for some inexplicable reason, but given the state of the game staring aimlessly at a “no signal” message is just as exciting.
77 mins. One debutant makes way for another as Meyer is replaced by VfL’s Wolfsburg’s Maxilimian Arnold.
79 mins. Poland win a free-kick some thirty-five yards out and Maciej Rybus’s speculative effort is deflected for a corner. The ball is swung in from the right and ter Stegen collects confidently.
82 mins. Christian Günter is the next new man on for Germany as he replaces SC Freiburg colleague Sorg.
84 mins. Another corner for Germany and there’s panic in the Polish box as Höwedes fashions a half-chance for Hahn. The Augsburg man is not quite able to get enough power on his right-footed effort and the ball is cleared.
87 mins. Günter does down just inside the Polish penalty area, but gets no change from the referee. The Freiburg man looks as though he is clipped, but his late collapse makes the decision an easy one for the Spanish official.
89 mins. There’s some late pressure from the home side but once again they are betrayed by their overall toothlessness.
90+1 mins. Günter scuffs a low shot well wide of the target.
90+2 mins. More whistles from the crowd greet what is a complete lack of urgency from the Mannschaft as the ball is played backwards. Poland almost break in search of a shock late winner but Linetty is unable to keep control of the ball.
90+3 mins. The whistle goes for full time, and a disappointing ninety minutes comes to an end. In what should have been an opportunity for some of the youngsters to build a claim for a place in the final World Cup squad, we have learned nothing. Julian Draxler would have plenty of the ball but ultimately fail to deceive, the mediocre midfield options would offer little in the way of spark or energy, and the defence would never really be tested by a sterile opposition attack.
v Poland, Imtech-Arena, Hamburg 13.05.2014
– / –
Germany: Zieler (46. ter Stegen) – Rüdiger* (46. Höwedes), Mustafi*, Ginter, Sorg* (82. Günter*) – Rudy*, Kramer* – Goretzka* (46. Hahn*), Meyer* (77. Arnold*), Draxler (c) – Volland* (70. Jung*)
Poland: Boruc – Olkowski, Szukała, Cionek (77. Wilusz), Wawrzyniak – Krychowiak, Klich – Peszko (53. Żyro), Obraniak (53. Linetty), Rybus – Robak (53. Milik)
Referee: David Fernández Borbalán (Spain)
Assistants: Raúl Cabanero Martínez, José Fernández Miranda (Spain)
Fourth Official: Tobias Stieler (Germany)
Yellow Cards: – / –
Red Cards: – / –
Attempts on Target: 4 / 3
Attempts off Target: 7 / 2
Corners: 11 / 3
Fouls Committed: – / –
* Full international debut