After last Thursday’s goalless UEFA Nations League tie with France, things take a slightly more relaxed turn in Sinsheim this evening. As Jogi Löw’s German team continue their post-Russia rehabilitation, they take on South Americans Peru.
Like die Nationalmannschaft, the Peruvians also failed to make it past the group phase at the World Cup. But theirs was a slightly different story. Buoyed by an army of raucous travelling supporters, La Blanquirroja (the white and red) had gone into the tournament – their first in 36 years – without the same level of expectation. After unlucky single-goal defeats against Denmark and eventual champions France, Ricardo Gareca’s team ended the tournament on a high with a 2-0 win over Australia.
Coming into this match, Peru gave the Netherlands a bit of a scare in Amsterdam, taking the lead after just thirteen minutes before two second-half goals turned things around for the home side.
This is only the second meeting between Germany and Peru, with the first coming at the group phase of the 1970 World Cup finals in Mexico. On June 10th 1970 in León, a perfect first-half hat-trick from Gerd Müller pretty much settled the contest for Helmut Schön’s team, before Peruvian legend Teófilo Cubillas pulled a goal back just a minute before the break.
On what is a pleasant evening in south-west Germany, the Germans will be wanting to extend that record to two wins from two.
As expected, there are a number of changes to Jogi Löw’s team. With Mats Hummels rested and Leroy Sané released from duty following the birth of his first child, the remaining 21 players have been reshuffled accordingly.
Marc-André ter Stegen replaces Manuel Neuer in goal, while TSG Hoffenheim left-back Nico Schulz makes his international debut on his home ground, replacing Antonio Rüdiger. In the centre of the four-man back line, Niklas Süle comes in for Hummels.
In midfield, Leon Goretzka makes way for İlkay Gündoğan, while Julian Brandt is given a start with Thomas Müller on the bench. In Neuer’s absence, Toni Kroos wears the captain’s armband for the first time. It is a special match for Jogi Löw, who equals Sepp Herberger’s long-standing record of 167 matches as Nationaltrainer.
The kick-off marks a historic moment:
Joachim Löw – World Champion and the manager, who wants to lead the @DFB_Team_EN back to old strengths, equals Sepp Herberger's record of most international games. 👏
— Mercedes-Benz & Die Mannschaft (@mbfussball_en) September 9, 2018
1 min. Germany, back in Schwarz und Weiß, kick off. Peru are in their change colours of all red. Raúl Ruidíaz has an audacious effort from distance, but ter Stegen is right behind it.
2 mins. The first chance. Germany move nicely through the middle of the park, and a lovely slide rule pass from Gündoğan finds Reus. Peruvian ‘keeper Pedro Gallese is down early to make the save. The resulting corner comes to nothing.
5 mins. Some neat quick passing from the Peruvians, and they advance towards and into the German box. Christian Cueva looks to create a shooting chance, but Jérôme Boateng is there to intercept.
6 mins. Gündoğan combines with Brandt and almost sets up Timo Werner, but defender Anderson Santamaría closes the RB Leipzig man down.
8 mins. A lovely long ball from Kroos finds Schulz, who advances down the left towards the byline. He cannot pull his cross back far enough, and Gallese gathers.
9 mins. Peru win their first corner of the match. Brandt clears.
10 mins. Joshua Kimmich charges forward and finds Matthias Ginter out on the right, whose cross is too close to Gallese who collects safely. This is been a very nice opening for the Germans. Bright, and with plenty of movement.
13 mins. Two corners in quick succession, and from the second Ginter gets his header in. It is straight at Gallese who doesn’t really know too much about it. That should have been the opener. It was a free header, and Peru’s lack of height at the back was obvious.
14 mins. Werner bursts into the opposition penalty area, and wins another corner. No threat this time.
19 mins. Germany are all over their opponents at the moment. There’s lots of quick passing going on, and their opponents are finding it hard to get even a sniff of the ball.
20 mins. Kroos wins the ball in the Peruvian half, combining quickly with Brandt who finds Werner. The Leipzig man creates space, sending a low cross in for Marco Reus who scuffs his shot wide. That was poor.
22 mins. Out of nothing. Peru couldn’t buy a goal at the World Cup, have been a distant second best here, but are somehow in front. Schulz eschews the easy pass back to Neuer, opting for God-knows-what. His pass is intercepted, and couple of swift passes later, ex-Hoffenheimer Luis Advíncula is haring towards the German goal. The Peruvian right-back beats ter Stegen at his near post with a crisp low shot. 0-1.
25 mins. Three minutes later, Germany are level. Peru are a shambles at the back, and Ginter sets up the next attack. He plays the ball inside to Kroos, whose slightly fortuitous jab to the right finds the advancing Brandt in space. The Leverkusen man dinks a smart chip over Gallese. 1-1.
— Home Bayern (@HomeBayern___) September 9, 2018
32 mins. Advíncula charges into the German penalty area, with Schulz in pursuit. The German left-back goes into the challenge early, and there is an opportunity for the Peruvian winger to make the most of it. He goes for the ball instead, but cannot keep it in play. Goal kick.
33 mins. Werner has the ball in the back of the net, but is flagged for offside. That was a pretty clear decision for the linesman to make. In anticipation of Kroos’s pass, Werner set off a fraction of a second too quickly.
35 mins. A lovely through ball from Gündoğan finds Werner, but Gallese is there to make the save. Germany have clearly recovered from that early Peruvian goal, and have taken control again.
37 mins. Gündoğan finds Schulz, whose shot from a tight angle is gathered by the busy Gallese.
38 mins. Almost a lovely moment. Kimmich and then Gündoğan initiate another German thrust through the centre. Gündoğan and Brandt exchange quick passes, and the Manchester City man’s shot is kept out by the outstretched right leg of Gallese.
41 mins. Reus loses the ball and Peru have a chance to create. Yoshimar Yotún gets some power on his shot from around 25 yards, but ter Stegen is right behind it.
42 mins. Jefferson Farfán and Yotún are looking to create a little chaos in the German box, and Peru win a corner. There’s no height in the box though, and Germany clear their lines with ease.
43 mins. Cueva is the next man to have a pop from distance for the men in red, and his shot flies high over the target.
45 mins. Werner is brought down by Miguel Trauco, and there’s a chance for Germany just before the break. Kroos’s free-kick is cleared by Advíncula, and the Austrian referee blows for half time.
That was an exciting opening half, but Germany should have been away and clear by now. How many times have we said that in the last couple of seasons? Just as it looked as thought the home side were going to score and put the South Americans out of their misery, their opponents broke the deadlock against the run of play. Thankfully, Julian Brandt’s deft finish came quickly enough for the natural order to be restored.
It should not take too many tweaks from the coach to get a result here. Peru have been shockingly disjointed at the back, and there will surely be more opportunities for the home side in the second half.
Changes are afoot. Julian Draxler is ready for action, and is talking to Jogi Löw. Antonio Rüdiger is also good to go. The boards are up, and then men being replaced are Reus and Boateng.
46 mins. There are no changes for Peru, who get the second half underway.
47 mins. Advíncula shifts forward with purpose, clattering Kimmich in the process. He continues towards to the byline and finds Ruidíaz, who shoots over the target under pressure from Rüdiger. Germany are temporarily down to ten men as Kimmich gets some treatment on the touchline.
49 mins. No problems for Kimmich, who is back on the field.
52 mins. Kimmich sends a long ball for Draxler to chase, but Gallese is there first. The flag was up for offside anyway.
53 mins. Advíncula has been excellent tonight, and wins another corner. It is swung in, and there’s a chance for the men in red. Cueva’s shot forces ter Stegen into the save, and Farfán just cannot get there to meet the rebound.
54 mins. It is that man Advíncula again. He wins a free-kick on the right, just outside the German box. This time Germany clear the danger with little fuss.
55 mins. The white shirts break quickly, and the ball is shifted to the other end of the pitch. Brandt’s lovely ball slices through the Peruvian defence for the fast-advancing Werner, whose puts his chipped shot over the bar.
58 mins. This is end to end stuff now. A beautiful looping pass from Advíncula (yes, him again) finds Farfán, who loops the ball over the target with the goal at his mercy.
60 mins. Rüdiger is caught napping by Ruidíaz, whose snapshot from distance is straight at ter Stegen.
61 mins. Kroos seeks out Draxler, but Gallese gets there first. Advíncula then beats Werner to the ball as the Germans set up another attack.
63 mins. Schulz makes his way to the byline, and his cross is turned behind for a corner. It is taken quickly, and Kroos finds Schulz with a neat backheel. This time there is no space for the Hoffenheim left-back, and Peru are able to clear.
65 mins. Edison Flores has a weak shot at goal from the edge of the German box. The Peruvian is down, and Germany kick the ball out into touch. Flores looks to have pulled something there, and his helped off the pitch. This prompts the first change for Peruvian coach Gareca. Marco López is on.
69 mins. A lovely ball from Kroos finds Brandt, whose pass for the chasing Ginter is way too strong.
70 mins. That is the last action for Brandt, who makes way for SC Freiburg striker Nils Petersen.
72 mins. The next change comes for die Nationalmannschaft. Ginter is off, and 21-year-old Thilo Kehrer is on for his senior international debut.
73 mins. Advíncula tries to disrupt a Germany free-kick, and his booked. If he is not scoring goals, he is creating chances. If he is not mucking in at the back, he is getting yellow cards.
74 mins. Kroos swings the free-kick in from the left, and Rüdiger nods it on and upwards. Petersen gets there first, but cannot get enough on his volleys shot that floats narrowly wide. Advíncula is everywhere at the moment.
76 mins. Advíncula is now off the pitch after getting clattered in the melée. Yotún is off for Peru, and is replaced by Horacio Calcaterra.
80 mins. Draxler is brought down by Advíncula, who has recovered well from what looked like a bloody nose. It is like there are three of him on the pitch.
81 mins. Draxler is moving gingerly after that challenge. Germany build another attack, and Kehrer’s cross is cleared away by Pedro Aquino.
82 mins. Kehrer is showing plenty of promise down the right, and his cross is put behind for a corner. Its is taken short, and Kroos sets up Draxler whose shot from the edge of the Peruvian box fizzes over the crossbar.
84 mins. Another change from Löw. Thomas Müller replaces Gündoğan. Within seconds, the Germans set up another attack. Peru are again all at sea at the back, Petersen squares the ball the edge of the box, and Schulz has a crack with his left foot. Santamaría looks to block, and Gallese dives way too late. The ball squirms under the ‘keeper, and rolls rather apologetically into the bottom right hand corner. It is far from pretty, but Germany are back in front. 2-1.
— Mercedes-Benz & Die Mannschaft (@mbfussball_en) September 9, 2018
86 mins. Peru make another switch, with Sergio Peña replacing Ruidíaz.
88 mins. There is time for Germany’s third debutant to get into the action. Werner makes way, and Bayer Leverkusen teenager Kai Havertz is on.
90 mins. Peru have a free-kick some thirty yards out, and there’s a deflection off Rüdiger. Corner to Peru, which is easily cleared. There will be four minutes of additional time.
90+4 mins. Peep, peep, peeeep! The final whistle blows.
That was harder than it should have been in the end, but Nico Schulz’s home ground debut goal has given Jogi Löw’s men a morale-boosting win. There were plenty of bright moments, but the coach will again be looking at all of those missed opportunities. The two goals were enough against a brave Peruvian side – well, the ubiquitous Luis Advíncula and pals.
It has not been easy, but the team have taken another big step forward. There is still plenty of work to do, with even bigger challenges ahead. Next month, there is the Nations League double header. It could not get much tougher. The Netherlands in Amsterdam, followed by France in Paris.
v France, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena, Sinsheim, 09.09.2018
Brandt 25., Schulz 84. / Advíncula 22.
Germany: ter Stegen – Ginter (72. Kehrer*), Boateng (46. Rüdiger), Süle, Schulz* – Kimmich – Gündoğan (84. Müller), Kroos (c) – Brandt (70. Petersen), Werner (88. Havertz*) – Reus (46. Draxler)
Peru: Gallese – Advíncula, Araujo, Santamaria, Trauco – Aquino, Yotún (76. Calcaterra) – Flores (67. López), Cueva, Farfán – Ruidíaz (86. Peña)
Referee: Robert Schörgenhofer (Austria)
Assistants: Andreas Staudinger (Austria), Stefan Kühr (Austria)
Fourth Official: Christopher Jäger (Austria)
Yellow Cards: – / Advíncula
Red Cards: – / –
Ball Possession: 57% / 43%
Attempts on Target/Blocked: 7 / 9
Attempts off Target: 6 / 5
Corners: 7 / 5
Fouls Committed: 7 / 5
* Full international debut