It is a pleasant evening in Hamburg, where Germany are set to kick off the 2019/20 leg of their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign against old rivals the Netherlands. After a torrid 2018, Joachim Löw’s men look to have turned a significant corner – starting the campaign with three wins from three, including a 3-2 win against the Dutch in Amsterdam.
With three wins from three and potentially the toughest match out of the way, the Nationalmannschaft are in the perfect position to take command in the group, put some clear daylight between them and the Dutch, and plant one foot at the Euro finals. But this is not just any ordinary fixture: trawl through this website, and you will see why.
Compared to he last time the two teams met, Germany are slight favourites – more so with home advantage at a packed Volksparkstadion.
There are a few changes to the starting eleven that stepped out at the end of last season against Estonia in Mainz. Thilo Kehrer and Leroy Sané are not in the squad, Leon Goretzka misses out, and İlkay Gündoğan is on the bench. In the place come Jonathan Tah, Lukas Klostermann, Timo Werner and Toni Kroos.
Led out by skipper Manuel Neuer, Germany are in their famous white/black/white combination, while their Dutch opponents are in their equally recognisable orange shirts, with white shorts and orange socks. After the announcements and the national anthems, we are all set to go.
1 min. Germany get the game underway. Almost immediately the first chance falls to the visitors, as Tah’s block concedes an early corner.
3 mins. A shot from Memphis Depay is blocked by Marco Reus. The visitors have made a bright and aggressive start.
5 mins. Depay has an effort, but Neuer collects comfortably.
6 mins. The first opportunity for the hosts. Kroos gets a good sight of goal, but fires a shot wide,
8 mins. A poor pass from Nico Schulz puts Tah in trouble, and the big man is beaten for pace by Ryan Babel. The Dutchman barrels into the German half and finds Depay, who forces Neuer into an awkward-looking save.
9 mins. A lovely floated ball from Joshua Kimmich finds Klostermann, who beats the offside trap and charges towards the Dutch goal. The Leipzig man has the time and space to line up his shot, and his low effort is blocked by ‘keeper Jesper Cillessen. The loose ball falls to Serge Gnabry, who executes the finish. 1-0.
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) September 6, 2019
14 mins. Gnabry is looking particularly sharp, and makes a bustling towards the edge of the box. He is clipped by Frenkie de Jong some 22 yards out.
15 mins. Kroos lines up the free-kick, but curls it over the target.
20 mins. The game has settled down a bit, and the men in white are prepared to pass the ball around.
22 mins. Free-kick for the Oranje, and de Ligt elevates himself to send a header wide of the far post.
26 mins. Kimmich wins the ball in his own half, and sends Gnabry on his way. The Bayern winger has Werner to his right, but tries to take on Cillessen. The shot is easily collected by the Dutch ‘keeper.
27 mins. Another breakaway opportunity, but this time Kroos is guilty of overhitting his pass to Werner.
29 mins. Depay seizes upon a defensive mistake, but Niklas Süle does well to shepherd the ball behind for a Dutch corner. As the game approaches the half-hour mark, all is going well so far for Löw’s side.
31 mins. Werner is clipped as he makes progress in the Dutch half. Three white shirts are caught offside as the free-kick is floated in.
33 mins. Some header ping-pong in the German box, but the ball finally goes behind for a goal kick.
34 mins. Kimmich and Depay both go in hard for the 50/50 ball, and the German defender is booked after a slight scuffle between the two sets of players. For leading the protests, Depay also has his name taken by the Portuguese referee.
42 mins. A chance! The Dutch defence falls asleep, Kroos finds Reus in space, and the Dortmund man’s well-struck shot is brilliantly saved by Cillessen. That was a strong right hand to keep that one out.
45 mins. There’s no additional time, and the whistle blows for half-time. The Netherlands have bossed the possession, but Germany have played a patient if at times slightly unimaginative game. That said, as far as the scoreboard is concerned, everything is going to plan so far. A decent second half will see Löw’s men make it four group wins from four.
48 mins. Depay twists past Kroos and picks out Denzel Dumfries, who is muscled off the ball by Tah.
49 mins. Marten de Roon is booked for an off the ball challenge on Kroos.
50 mins. Germany break quickly. Gnabry has an effort on goal, and Mathijs de Ligt does well to turn it behind for a corner.
51 mins. Two good moments for the Nationalmannschaft. Reus barrels into the box and is well tacked by de Roon, and the ball is recycled for Schulz, whose teasing cross is almost met by Gnabry. Daley Blind does enough to put the Bayern man off, or that might have been two.
53 mins. Kimmich finds Schulz to his left, and the left back’s cross is brilliantly cleared behind by van Dijk with Werner poised to strike. That makes two outstanding defensive actions in as many minutes for Ronald Koeman’s side.
56 mins. Now the Elftal are getting a bit of the ball. Georginio Wijnaldum makes the space and fires in a well-struck shot, and Neuer flies to his right to make a fine save.
58 mins. The first changes for the men in orange, De Roon and Dumfries are off, replaced by Donyell Malen and Davy Proepper.
59 mins. The Dutch are level. Was it avoidable? Maybe. Babel’s cross is missed by Tah, and Schulz fails to close down de Jong whose crisp shot leaves Neuer no chance. 1-1.
61 mins. Löw responds with his first move off the bench, also a double change. The disappointing Werner and Reus make way for Kai Havertz and İlkay Gündoğan.
64 mins. Depay collects a sharp pass and charges towards goal, but his beaten for strength and pace by Matthias Ginter.
65 mins. Neuer makes another outstanding save to deny the towering Virgil van Dijk, but nobody is there to clear. It is a complete mess, a complete and utter defensive shambles. Depay and Babel are both in the mix, but the final touch comes from the unfortunate Tah. In the blink of an eye, the Netherlands are in front. 1-2.
68 mins. The Dutch have the bit between their teeth now. Germany have had their chances, but with the exception of the tireless Gnabry have lacked attacking spark. This is where you need a player like Thomas Müller. Thank you for that, Maharishi Jogi.
71 mins. Schulz does well to get in a sharp cross, the ball balloons towards the byline, and de Ligt clears. But wait. The referee points to the penalty spot! Elfmeter für Deutschland! In fairness, that looked more than a little harsh. It clearly touched de Ligt’s arm, but the defender clearly had no idea where the ball even was. There’s a check to see if Schulz was offside in the buildup, but he is behind the last man. The decision will stand.
73 mins. Kroos steps up, and drills the ball into the bottom-left corner, sending Cillessen the wrong way. Meanwhile, de Jong is booked for his persistent protests. 2-2.
GOAL! Kroos converts from 12 yards after a harsh penalty is given against De Ligt!
— Goal (@goal) September 6, 2019
74 mins. A massive chance for sub Malen. There’s a double deflection, and Neuer somehow has the ball in his arms. Not that he knew much about it. This game really is developing an edge now, and one can see another goal somewhere in the next quarter of an hour.
79 mins. More Dutch pressure, and that goal comes. Again, it is a poor German pass that sets up the Dutch attack, this time from Ginter. Wijnaldum has the perfect opportunity to take a shot, but plays a lovely pass to his right to find Malen. The substitute makes no mistake on the volley, lashing the ball firmly into the net. 2-3.
80 mins. The Dutch like the Volksparkstadion, don’t they? Back in 1988, Koeman was here as a player in the Oranje’s 2-1 win in the Euro semi-final. What a most unpleasant memory that is.
81 mins. Koeman makes his final change, sending on Nathan Aké for the busy Babel.
84 mins. The final roll of the dice from the Nationaltrainer. Ginter is off, and Julian Brandt is on.
86 mins. In their previous fifty Euro qualifiers at home, Germany have only suffered two defeats. A one-goal defeat against Northern Ireland – their next opponents – in November 1983, and a dead rubber 0-3 reverse against the Czech Republic in October 2007. It looks like defeat number three is one cards here.
90 mins. There will be four minutes of additional time. Will we see a dramatic equaliser?
90+1 mins. The emphatic answer to that is no. Germany once again needlessly give the ball away, and the Dutch pile forward. Süle manfully makes his way back, but is unable to prevent the excellent Wijnaldum from meeting Depay’s low cross. That, meine Freunde, is that. 2-4.
90+3 mins. Kimmich dinks a cute ball over the Dutch defence for Gnabry, whose first time volley skims the outside of the right post. That should have been a second for Gnabry, but we can’t be too harsh. On what has been a poor showing up front from the Nationalmannschaft, he has been one of the better ones.
90+4 mins. The whistle blows to end the game.
— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) September 6, 2019
It has started so well, but ended in an orange blur. Germany were far from their best in front of goal, but failed to make the most of the opportunities they had to put some daylight between them and their always dangerous opponents. Once the Dutch got a foothold in the match, it was always going to be a hard for Jogi Löw’s charges.
Even a gift of a penalty didn’t shake the Dutch, who upped the ante with perfect timing.
As well as the lack of firepower up front – with the exception of the tireless Serge Gnabry, there was more of the same old complacency at the back. The first Dutch goal was defined by defensive blinders. The second was the perfect summary of where things are right now defensively, while the third and fourth both came from cheap giveaways.
There is no arguing that the Oranje deserved their victory, and with it the three crucial points that now put the group back in the balance. But the German coach will be looking at making some major tactical and attitude changes before the next match in Belfast against Northern Ireland.
v Netherlands, Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, 06.09.2019
Gnabry 9., Kroos pen 73. / F. de Jong 59., Tah og 65., Malen 79., Wijnaldum 90.+1.
Germany: Neuer (c) – Ginter (84. Brandt), Süle, Tah – Klostermann, Kimmich, Kroos, Schulz, Gnabry, Werner (61. Havertz) – Reus (61. Gündoğan)
Netherlands: Cillessen – Dumfries (58. Proepper), de Ligt, van Dijk (c), Blind – F. de Jong, de Roon (58. Malen), Wijnaldum – Promes, Depay, Babel (81. Aké)
Referee: Artur Soares Dias (Portugal)
Assistants: Rui Tavares (Portugal), Paulo Santos (Portugal)
Fourth Official: Hugo Miguel (Portugal)
Referee Observer: Domenico Messina (Italy)
Yellow Cards: Kimmich 35. / Depay 35., de Roon 49., de Jong 73.
Red Cards: – / –
Ball Possession: 47% / 53%
Attempts on Target/Blocked: 6 / 12
Attempts off Target: 5 / 4
Corners: 2 / 4
Fouls Committed: 7 / 10