Having dispatched San Marino 8-0 in Serravalle before the weekend, Germany’s Italian your continues with a journey to the Vatican to visit the Pope, before making the trip back north to take on Italy in Milan. A year to the day after the abandoned friendly against the Netherlands in Hannover, the Mannschaft close out the year with a prestige friendly against their old rivals.
Having finally beaten the Italians for the first time in a competitive fixture at Euro 2016, Joachim Löw’s side will be looking to maintain their unbeaten run against the Azzurri – a short series of three matches stretching back to a 2013 friendly – also on November 15th, also in Milan. On that day Ignazio Abate had cancelled out Mats Hummels’ early opener, but earlier in the year Germany would finally put the Azzurri to the sword, dishing out a 4-1 thrashing in a pre-Euros friendly in Munich.
There are a number of changes to the German starting eleven – something that was pretty much expected given the new-look squad with only four names from the eleven that started against San Marino. Thomas Müller takes the captain’s armband, Mats Hummels remains in the back line, and both Joshua Kimmich and İlkay Gündoğan return.
Elsewhere, the Nationaltrainer has rung the changes. Bernd Leno gets a start in between the sticks in place of Marc-André ter Stegen, while there’s a new look the back line with Benedikt Höwedes and Shkodran Mustafi joining Hummels. Sebastian Rudy, Julian Weigl and Leon Gortezka are also back in, while there is another debutant – the third of the week – in the form of VfL Wolfsbrg’s Yannick Gerhardt.
1 min. Both teams are kitted out in their familiar colours, and the visitors get the game underway.
3 mins. Rudy fires an effort in from distance, but Gianluigi Buffon in the Italian goal shows a safe pair of hands. Italy lose the ball quickly and Germany counterattack through Müller and Goretzka, but there’s nothing at the end of it.
5 mins. Ex-Dortmunder Ciro Immobile looks to make ground towards the German goal, but Höwedes is in good position as he heads clear.
9 mins. Andrea Belotti finds space down the right and waits for support to arrive, but his pass to Éder is poor. Leno gathers the ball.
11 mins. Italy are setting the pace at the moment, and Immobile is not looking anything like his name suggests as he chases down another ball put into the space in front of him. Mustafi puts his foot on the gas to get their first, and he clears the danger.
12 mins. Out of nowhere Germany fashion an opportunity. Gündogan plays a lovely ball that slices through the Italian defence, and Goretzka gets ahead of his marker only to be denied by Buffon from five yards out.
13 mins. Daniele Rugani has a shot from distance as play swings quickly to the other end, and Leno turns it over the crossbar. The resulting corner comes to nothing.
16 mins. Germany finally get some time on the ball in the Italian half, to a loud chorus of jeers from the home crowd.
20 mins. The Mannschaft are starting to put things together now, and Gerhardt shows plenty of presence down the left. Italy cannot clear and the ball falls to Goretzka, whose long-distance shot is too easy for Buffon.
22 mins. Italy attack down the right, but Mustafi is there to clear Davide Zappacosta’s cross.
24 mins. There’s some space for a German attack, but Weigl’s optimistic long pass is far too strong for the fast advancing Kimmich.
25 mins. Immobile times his run perfectly as the German defence are caught cold, but Leno is quickly off his line to put him off. Höwedes was completely beaten for pace by the Italian forward, whose well-timed shot flies over the target.
27 mins. Close! Müller darts down the right and combines with Gerhardt, who cannot get a decent foot on the ball. It skids towards Gündoğan, but Buffon is a fraction faster to it.
30 mins. Italy started strongly, but as the match passes the half-hour mark it is the visitors who are looking stronger. They are passing the ball around comfortably, and the home crowd are clearly getting restless.
31 mins. More patient approach play, and then a lovely darting one-two between Gündogan and Müller. The Dortmund man gets his first time shot on target, but cannot get a clean enough strike as Buffon collects.
35 mins. Matteo Darmian shows some good skill to beat Kimmich, and there’s a little space on the left for the Italians. Immobile chases the ball down, but runs out of space before launching the ball over the German goal.
38 mins. Zappacosta sends in a teasing cross into the German box, but Leno makes it look easy as he plucks the ball out of the air.
39 mins. Germany are looking to lift the ball over the blue-shirted back line, and this time Rudy is the architect. Müller is the intended target and he makes good ground, but once again Buffon gets there first.
41 mins. Immobile gives Kimmich a clear shove, but goes unpunished by the Portuguese referee. So… What’s the video assistant for? Ah, it is only useful for penalty and red card decisions. No good at all in this case then.
44 mins. The Mannschaft knock on the door again. There’s more nice movement just outside the Italian box, and this time Müller has an effort that is blocked.
45 mins. The whistle blows for half time.
Italy were bright at the beginning, but as time went on Germany quickly asserted themselves, taking the half-time possession figures 56 percent to 44. İlkay Gündoğan has played a key role in the middle of the pitch, while Yannick Gerhardt has impressed on his first senior outing in the Nationaltrikot. It has been an exciting game to watch, and both coaches will be looking on changing things around in the second half.
Joachim Löw’s first change sees Jonathan Tah comes on for Hummels, while for Italy Buffon and Alessio Romagnoli make way for Gianluigi Donnarumma and Davide Astori. It’s a real case of one generation making way for the next in the Italian goal. Veteran Buffon, now a European record holder with 167 international caps, is thirty-eight years of age. His replacement is just seventeen.
46 mins. Italy restart.
49 mins. Belotti lets fly from from outside the box, but his shot floats harmlessly into the crowd.
51 mins. Italy win a free-kick some thirty-five yards out, but the men in white clear easily.
53 mins. As in the first half, the Italians have made the brighter start. Darmian and Immobile are looking dangerous on the left, but the final ball is lacking.
54 mins. Gündoğan bursts down the middle, and for a moment it looks like the Italian defence are about to be carved open. The move breaks down however, and the Italians are able to clear their lines.
55 mins. Belotti bursts forward and into the German box, and there are loud shrieks from the home crowd as he goes down under Tah’s challenge. Belotti raises his arms in theatrically, but the referee waves the protests away. A good decision, as Tah appeared to get to the ball first.
58 mins. Gerhardt makes a charge down the left as the Mannschaft make a shift into the Italian half, and the Wolfsburg man’s cross is chested down in the box by Goretzka. There’s no other support however and that’s the end of that.
60 mins. Two changes now for the visitors. Goretzka and Müller are off, with Kevin Volland and Serge Gnabry coming on off the bench.
61 mins. Play restarts with an Italian charge towards the German penalty area, and Éder is taken down late by Tah. Free-kick to Italy, and a clear yellow card for the Bayer Leverkusen centre-back.
62 mins. Daniele de Rossi sends in a dangerous looking kick, but the referee spots an infringement. Free kick to Germany. The ball is quickly making its way across the pitch and Kimmich’s low cross from the right is brilliantly met by Volland. The substitute goes to celebrate, but the flag is up. He is offside – just.
65 mins. Éder sprints towards the German goal, but is well marshalled by Mustafi.
67 mins. Astori looks for Belotti and sends a teasing ball into the German box, but Leno gets there first. Italy win another free-kick out on the right as Marco Parolo is bundled over by Gerhardt.
68 mins. Time now for another Italian change, as Federico Bernardeschi replaces Éder.
70 mins. The changes are coming now. Another German change, as Weigl makes way for Dortmund team mate Mario Götze.
71 mins. A brilliant move from the Italians, as Belotti’s pass is perfect for the fast advancing Immobile. The cross is cut back inside to Bernardeschi, but the substitute cannot get enough power on his shot and Leno safely collects. In fact, the Leverkusen ‘keeper made it look easy.
73 mins. Another German move through the middle, and Volland’s curling shot is wide of the target.
74 mins. There’s another dangerous Italian ball, and again Immobile charges towards goal. This time he has far too much work to do, and sends a right-footed effort well wide of the German goal.
75 mins. Some loose German defending allows Belotti to launch another Italian thrust forward, but this time the ball to Immobile is badly overhit.
76 mins. The impressive Gündoğan floats towards the edge of the Italian penalty area and goes down as de Rossi challenges, but the referee sees nothing untoward.
81 mins. Belotti and Immobile look to combine again as the home side continue to press, but Mustafi gets in quickly to put the ball behind for a corner.
82 mins. It’s a poor corner from the Italians and Germany break quickly through Gnabry, but Volland’s attempted pass is poor. As the play switches to the other end the Italians almost take the lead. The German defence are left at sixes and sevens and Leno is beaten, but Belotti hits the inside of the post with the goal at his mercy after turning Mustafi inside out. Miraculously, the rebound doesn’t find a blue shirt as it skids past Immobile, and the danger is cleared.
84 mins. There’s another quick ball into the Italian box and Gündoğan goes down. There is a sneaky Italian leg in there, but Gündoğan’s additional flourish sees him shown the yellow card.
88 mins. The crowd shout expetantly as another long ball seeks Immobile, but Leno calmly clears. There’s a final double change for the hosts, with Nicola Sansone and Simone Zaza replacing Belotti and the energetic Immobile.
90 mins. It looks like the Mannschaft are happy with the 0-0 draw now, and they are looking to keep the ball as the clock ticks towards the end of the ninety minutes. Three minutes of additional time will be played.
90+1 mins. Germany win a corner, and there might be a chance to snatch a late win here. The corner is nicely delivered and Tah is first to it, but his header goes wide.
90+3 mins. Surely it is the last attack, and there’s another corner for Jogi Löw’s men. Nothing comes of it, the ball flies wide, and the final whistle blows.
An exciting game that had its moments, but overall a fair result. Germany had the ball in he back of the Italian net and the home side hit the post, but apart from that there was little in the way of chances for either side. It is another clean sheet for the Mannschaft, who have now played six games without conceding a goal.
v Italy, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (San Siro), Milano, 15.11.2016
– / –
Germany: Leno – Höwedes, Mustafi, Hummels (46. Tah) – Kimmich, Rudy, Weigl (70. Götze), Gerhardt* – Gündoğan, Goretzka (60. Gnabry) – Müller (c) (60. Volland)
Italy: Buffon (c) (46. Donnarumma) – Rugani, Bonucci, Romagnoli (46. Astori) – Zappacosta, de Rossi, Parolo, Darmian – Immobile (89. Zaza), Belotti (88. Sansone), Éder (68. Bernardeschi)
Referee: Artur Soares Dias (Portugal)
Assistants: Rui Barbosa (Portugal), Paulo Santos (Portugal)
Fourth Official: Hugo Miguel (Portugal)
Yellow Cards: Tah, Gündoğan / –
Red Cards: – / –
Ball Possession: 55% / 45%
Attempts on Target: 3 / 2
Attempts off Target: 12 / 8
Corners: 2 / 3
Fouls Committed: 12 / 18
*Full international debut