After the comfortable friendly win over Finland in midweek and the emotional farewell for Bastian Schweinsteiger, Joachim Löw’s team finally get down to the serious stuff. The defence of the World Cup gets underway for the Nationalmannschaft with a trip to Oslo to take on Norway in the first of ten group qualifiers, where new skipper Manuel Neuer leads the team out at the Ulleval Stadium.
It is Germany’s first competitive match against the Norwegians for over half a century, with the last being played in November 1953 en route to the 1954 World Cup finals in Switzerland. On that day in Hamburg’s Volksparkstadion, Sepp Herberger’s Nationalmannschaft stormed to a 5-1 victory after going a goal behind.
Since that match in 1953 the two teams have met seven times in friendlies, with Germany winning all with the exception of the last meeting in 2009, where the Scandinavians edged a 1-0 win against a largely experimental German team in Düsseldorf. Among the new faces that evening was a certain Mesut Özil, who came on for Piotr Trochowski as a 78th minute substitute.
Özil is one of a star-studded eleven that is looking to not only kick off the World Cup defence in style, but also maintain the Mannschaft’s long and proud unbeaten record away from home in World Cup qualifiers. He starts alongside Thomas Müller and the recalled Julian Draxler, with Mario Götze up top as false nine.
The defensive unit welcomes back Benedikt Höwedes and Mats Hummels, while Joshua Kimmich and Jonas Hector occupy the outside positions. Even with the retirement of Schweinsteiger from international duty, the defensive midfield has a solid and familiar look about it with Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos back in the side after being rested against Finland.
The home team are in their traditional red shirts, white shorts and dark blue socks, while the Mannschaft are sporting their grey and khaki Auswärtstrikot teamed with khaki shorts and cream coloured socks.
1 min. Scottish referee William Collum gets things underway, and the home side kick off.
2 mins. Germany look to venture forward, and Müller is flagged offside.
5 mins. A dreadful error from Hummels sees Joshua King charge into space, but Höwedes stays smart to get in front of the Norwegian striker to put the ball behind for a corner – which is easily cleared by the men in grey.
8 mins. Draxler charges down the left and sends in a dangerous cross, and Müller’s glanced header floats across the face of the Norwegian goal. It looked like he was looking to set something up rather than go for goal, but there is nobody there.
10 mins. The best move so far from the visitors, as Höwedes is on the end of a well-placed Müller cross. The centre-back’s stabbed shot is firm and on target, but Norway ‘keeper Rune Jarstein makes an excellent save to keep his side level.
14 mins. Kimmich cuts inside the box and takes a tumble, but the referee waves play on.
15 mins. The pressure pays off, and the ball is in the back of the Norwegian net. After a Khedira shot is blocked, Müller shows great persistence in fighting for the ball after Özil picks him out. After being foiled by a red-shirted defender with his first attempt, he stretches with his left foot and sees his shot loop into the bottom right-hand corner off Jarstein. Draxler was waiting just in case, but Müller is on the board for the first time after his barren Euro 2016. 1-0.
Thomas Müller celebrates Germany’s opening goal, his first in the Nationaltrikot since before the summer’s European Championships in France
20 mins. Alexander Tettey has a shot for distance, but there’s nothing for worry about for Neuer in the German goal.
24 mins. King breaks free after a mistimed interception by Kimmich, and with two red shirts to his right chooses to go for goal. His shot is well struck, but flies high over the target.
25 mins. The play swings the other way, and Draxler floats down the left. He finds Müller, whose effort is gathered by Jarstein. Götze was in acres of space to his right.
28 mins. Norway win a free-kick some thirty yards out, but Stefan Johansen’s ball is easily read and Germany clear the danger.
29 mins. Özil delivers a lovely ball for Draxler to chase into the Norwegian penalty area, but Jarstein is off his line quickly to to make the interception.
32 mins. Kimmich sends in a cross from the right for Müller, whose header is on target but easily collected by Jarstein.
37 mins. Germany are dominating the possession and toying with their opponents now. Kimmich looks to cross, but his effort is overhit and easily collected by Jarstein.
42 mins. There’s plenty of intricate and smart short passing from the Mannschaft here, but nothing much to trouble the men in red.
44 mins. Löw’s side win a corner, but Kroos’s kick is cleared easily.
45 mins. Then, the killer finish comes. This time the Norwegian defence is prised open and Germany double their lead. Özil finds Müller, whose perfectly timed pass is collected by the fast advancing Kimmich. The youngster strikes the ball firmly with his right foot, and it curls past the outstretched hand of Jarstein before hitting the bottom left-hand corner of the net. 2-0.
Joshua Kimmich doubles the Mannschaft’s advantage on the brink of half-time, his first senior international goal
The second goal could not have come at a better time, and the referee signals for half-time. Germany have dominated the game completely, and apart from a few shaky moments have looked excellent value for their two goal lead. It is safe to say that barring disaster the three points are in the bag, and if they can maintain this tempo in the second half, they will surely add to their tally.
46 mins. The Mannschaft kick off the second half.
48 mins. Khedira is booked for a shirt-tug on King, who is also shown the yellow card for a petulant kick out at the German midfielder. On another day the Norwegian might have seen red for that.
51 mins. Müller is brought down by Johansen, who is booked.
56 mins. Germany have picked up where they left off in the first half. Plenty of possession, with the home side chasing shadows. Özil looks to dance his way into a shooting position, but his shot is blocked.
60 mins. Euros? What Euros? Müller scores his second, and Germany are surely away and clear now. Kimmich makes his way to the byline before dropping the ball back for Khedira, and the the Juventus man’s perfectly-placed cross is headed home by der Raumdeuter. Jarstein dives to his left but Müller’s finish is inch perfect into the bottom right-hand corner. 3-0.
The irrepressible Müller’s header finds the back of the Norwegian net on the hour mark, his second of the night and 34th in all internationals
61 mins. Norway make their first change, with Ole Kristian Selnæs replacing Markus Henriksen.
63 mins. Kimmich floats another cross for Kroos to collect just outside the Norwegian box. The new Germany number eight takes a well-times swing with his left foot. The ball flies handsomely – but way too high – over the target.
65 mins. Götze takes a change forward into the box, and wins a corner. The penalty area resembles a pinball machine for a few moments, but the home side gather their composure as the ball ends up in in the safe hands of ‘keeper Jarstein.
67 mins. Another chance for the home team. Skipper Johansen comes off, and Ruben Jenssen is on.
70 mins. Having had not much to do, sweeper-keeper Neuer does some flashy sweeper-keeping right under the nose of an opponent.
72 mins. Norway’s third and final change, and Germany’s first. Alexander Sørloth replaces King for the home side, and Götze makes way for Julian Brandt for the Mannschaft. After two friendly caps, it is Brandt’s first competitive encounter.
77 mins. Brandt gets in a decent shot from just outside the Norwegian penalty area, and Jarstein dives well to his right to keep it out.
83 mins. Özil dinks the ball into the danger area, and Brandt shifts inside his marker to get the ball onto his favoured left foot. He smashes it goalwards, but Jarstein does well to parry from point blank range.
84 mins. A double change for the Germans, with youngsters Max Meyer and Julian Weigl replacing Draxler and Khedira.
87 mins. A Norwegian corner comes to nothing, and the men in grey sweep up the field on the break. Müller swings the ball across to Brandt, but the substitute can’t find a finish with his right foot.
89 mins. The Norwegians have a few half-chances in the German box, but the ball is scrambled away.
90+3 mins. The whistle blows for full time.
A smooth, easy and professional win for a dominant German side – the perfect world champion performance. Two goals from the excellent Thomas Müller, and a first international goal from Müller’s club team mate Joshua Kimmich. Three points safely in the bag, one more win on the road, and the campaign to qualify for Russia 2018 is underway.
v Norway, Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo, 04.09.2016
Müller 15., 60. Kimmich 45. / –
Germany: Neuer (c) – Kimmich, Hummels, Höwedes, Hector – Kroos, Khedira (84. Weigl) – Müller, Özil, Draxler (84. Meyer) – Götze (72. Brandt)
Norway: Jarstein – Svensson, Hovland, Nordtveit, Aleesami – Tettey – Henriksen (61. Selnæs), Johansen (c) (67. Jenssen) – Berisha, Diomande – King (72. Sørloth)
Referee: William Collum (Scotland)
Assistants: Douglas Ross (Scotland), Francis Connor (Scotland)
Fourth Official: John Beaton (Scotland)
Referee Observer: Vladimir Antonov (Moldova)
Yellow Cards: Khedira / King, Johansen
Red Cards: – / –
Ball Possession: 67% / 33%
Attempts on Target: 16 / 1
Attempts off Target: 3 / 3
Corners: 4 / 3
Fouls Committed: 5 / 14