A Tediously Tough Test in Tórshavn

After the 3-0 win over Austria on Friday Joachim Löw’s side are looking for another three points against the Faroe Islands, who are currently sitting bottom of the group table with no return from their seven matches played. It should be a simple matter of collecting the points, but the Faroes have put up some stiff competition in the three previous matches played between the two sides.

It’s a dry evening in Tórshavn, and there’s a pretty decent atmosphere in the small but well populated Tórsvøllur. Like Kazakhstan’s stadium in Astana the Tórsvøllur has an artificial grass pitch, which brings an added interest to the tie.

With the Faroes in their home strip of white shirts and blue shorts the Mannschaft are kitted out in their green and white ensemble – their first competitive match in this more recent incarnation of the famous away colours mad famous by Beckenbauer, Müller and co. in the 1970s. Their record in this new Lindengrün Trikot are not good – three friendlies against France, Switzerland and the United States, and three defeats.

There is one enforced change to the starting eleven, with the injured Marco Reus being replaced by Schalke 04’s teenage star Julian Draxler.

1 min. Lithuanian referee Gediminas Mažeika gets things under way, and Germany kick off. The home launches the first attack, and Frodi Benjaminsen is foiled by Jérome Boateng.

4 mins. Sami Khedira has Germany’s first shot at the Faroese goal, which flies narrowly wide of the far post.

5 mins. It’s been a fairly lively start, and Draxler dribbles his way into a shooting position before hitting a right-footed shot that cannons off the crossbar and back into play.

7 mins. The play switches quickly to the other end of the pitch, and German ‘keeper Manuel Neuer is given his first test of the evening by Pol-Johannes Justinussen.

8 mins. Back to the other end of the field, and there are questions of a penalty as Mesut Özil goes down under an agricultural-looking challenge by Johan-Troest Davidsen.

10 mins. Khedira’s pass finds record-hunter Miroslav Klose, whose shot is blocked by ‘keeper Gunnar Nielsen. Germany are starting to put more pressure on the home side now, but the Faroese defence is keeping tight.

15 mins. Philipp Lahm sends in a cross from the right, Marcel Schmelzer has what looks like a shot on goal, and the score is still goalless.

16 mins. Julian Draxler gets a shot on target, but it is easily collected by Faroes ‘keeper Gunnar Nielsen.

17 mins. The home side are content to send long balls forward in the hope of catching the Germans by surprise. Given recent weaknesses this might be a good tactic. Germany win a corner out on the left, but nothing comes of it.

19 mins. Four Faroese players are caught offside, and the men in green break quickly. Thomas Müller charges down the right, and fires in a decent shot that forces Nielsen into a fine save.

22 mins. Thomas Müller breaks down the right and threads the ball through to Lahm, who finds Klose in the box. The striker scuffs his shot, and Nielsen clumsily turns it round for a corner. Özil swings in the Eckball from the right, Jérôme Boateng rises high above the defence to glace it across the goal towards the far post, and Per Mertesacker of all people arrives to stab it home from all of two yards. 1-0.

30 mins. Germany use the width of the pitch in engineering another attack, and Schmelzer sets in a good cross from the left for Klose who rises above defender Rogvi Baldvinsson only to see his downward header easily collected by Nielsen.

32 mins. Özil lifts a speculative shot high over the crossbar.

33 mins. The Mannschaft win a corner on the left and play the ball short. Draxler cuts inside and unleashes a dipping right-footed effort which is spectacularly punched away by Nielsen.

35 mins. Klose is flagged for offside, but this time the decision was a wrong one. It looked like a decent chance too.

37 mins. Müller floats the ball into the box and Draxler can’t quite get the shot in. Moments later, the teenager wins a corner which comes to nothing.

38 mins. Joachim Löw’s side are making excellent use of the flanks, but the final ball is seriously wanting. They really are making heavy weather of this, as befits a blustery Tórshavn.

39 mins. Draxler’s overhit cross finds Lahm out the right, who is hacked down by Justinussen who receives the yellow card.

41 mins. It’s all getting a little scrappy now as Schmelzer is penalised for a late challenge at the edge of the opposition box.

43 mins. Yet another corner, this time taken by Kroos. Again, easily cleared by the white-shirted defence.

44 mins. Draxler tries to wriggle through the white shirts but is foiled again.

45 mins. As the first half draws to a close the home side get a little possession in the midfield. Germany see out the minute of added time by passing the ball around with no real intent.

Germany have the lead, but has been really hard work against a tenacious Faroese side. One was always going to expect a tough match against the pugnacious islanders, but the green-shirted attack has looked particularly blunt and depressingly short of ideas in front of goal.

46 mins. The home side get things under way, and a mistake by Schmelzer almost presents a chance. Christian Holst is unable to control the ball, and fires an ugly looking shot wide of the target from twenty-five yards out.

47 mins. A terse-looking Jogi Löw is standing on the touchline, looking as dapper as ever in a grey jacket and loosely-tied dark blue scarf.

48 mins. The first half was spent trying to send crosses into the Faroese box, now the plan seems to be to pick their way through the white shirts. The results are the same.

49 mins. Klose wins a free-kick some twenty-five yards out, and Özil’s left-footed effort floats to the right of the target.

51 mins. Some neat play from Özil sets up Klose, whose first-time shot comes off a defender for a corner. Once again, the corner garners nothing.

54 mins. There’s more passing around by the Germans in the opposition half, but the final ball continues to be poor.

59 mins. Five minutes have passed and nothing has happened. Germany have spent nearly all this time in the opposition half, and haven’t managed to fashion a single decent opportunity.

61 mins. Draxler skips past Davidsen and gets his shirt tugged while having a shot at goal, and the ball is easily collected by Nielsen.

65 mins. The home side build a rare attack. A long ball finds Holst out on the right, and he bustles past Schmelzer before getting a well struck angled shot on target. Easy for Neuer, who is risk of falling asleep here.

66 mins. There’s a German break now, and Özil’s looping ball into the box is met by Khedira, whose header is cleared off the line by Baldvinsson.

68 mins. The Faroes make a double change, with Christian Mouritsen and Pall Klettskard coming on for Daniel Udsen and Joan-Simun Edmundsson.

72 mins. Özil jinks inside and fires a shot that is blocked by Nielsen, and Draxler’s attempt at hitting the rebound is closer to the ‘keeper than the ball. The Lithuanian referee awards a free kick to the home side.

73 mins. Out of nowhere, Müller is put clean through on goal. In typical Raumdeuter fashion he falls like a cornered spider under some fairly gentle pressure from Atli Gregersen. The Faroes defender gets a straight red card, and it’s an Elfmeter for the Mannschaft.

74 mins. Özil stokes the penalty low into the bottom left-hand corner, sending Nielsen the wrong way. 2-0. Draxler is replaced by André Schürrle.

76 mins. The Faroes make their final change, with Hallur Hansson coming on for the excellent Holst.

77 mins. Schürrle collects a Lahm cross and sends the ball over the bar with his first touch.

78 mins. The end of a disappointing evening for Klose, who is replaced by Max Kruse. Apart from a couple of poorly-taken chances, he never looked like he was going to overtake Gerd Müller this evening.

80 mins. Boateng plays a short pass inside to Kruse, who blazes his shot high over the bar.

81 mins. The potshots are coming in now. Schürrle again.

84 mins. Lahm collects a neat pass from Kruse and sends in a low cross, and Müller tries his best to lose the ball before thumping it hard into the top left corner. 3-0.

85 mins. Müller has done his work for the evening, and Bayer Leverkusen’s Sidney Sam comes on.

86 mins. A decent chance for the Faroes as Hansson’s header is kept out by Neuer, who makes his first genuine save of the evening.

90 mins. The men in green are content to run the clock down now, their work here in Tórshavn is done. There are two minutes of added times before the final whistle is blown.

Yet another hard-earned Pflichtsieg, but three more points and another clean sheet. A simple case of job done, and no more. This would not be the most memorable match, was dull at times and was certainly not pretty to watch, but Germany are just two points away from securing their place at next year’s finals in Brazil.

The win takes Jogi Löw’s side five points clear of second-placed Sweden with two matches remaining, and while the Swedes would keep their chances of winning the group alive with a 1-0 win in Kazakhstan, Germany will be confident of finishing things off in Köln next months against the Republic of Ireland.

v Faroe Islands, Tórsvøllur, Tórshavn, 10.09.2013
Faroe Islands

3-0 (1-0)
Mertesacker 22., Özil pen 74., Müller 84. / –

Germany: Neuer – Lahm (c), Mertesacker, Boateng, Schmelzer – Khedira, Kroos – T. Müller (85. Sam), Özil, Draxler (74. Schürrle) – Klose (78. Kruse)

Faroe Islands: Nielsen – J. Davidsen, Baldvinsson, A. Gregersen, V. Davidsen – Udsen (68. Mouritsen), Benjaminsen, S. Olsen, Justinussen – Holst (76. Hansson) – Edmundsson (68. Klettskard)

Referee: Gediminas Mažeika (Lithuania)
Assistants: Dovydas Sužiedėlis, Vytenis Kazlauskas (Lithuania)
Fourth Official: Nerijus Dunauskas (Lithuania)

Yellow Cards: – / Justinussen 40.
Red Cards: – / A. Gregersen 74.

Attempts on Target: 16 / 3
Attempts off Target: 9 / 2
Corners: 9 / 1
Fouls Committed: 7 / 7

Attendance: 4,818

A Tediously Tough Test in Tórshavn

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