It’s a fine evening in Stuttgart, and here in London things are back to normal with a live footage on BT Sport. So, no meddling with multiple windows on a small laptop screen. After a four-month break, the Nationalmannschaft are back in action at the Mercedes-Benz-Arena as they take on Chile in the first of four planned friendly matches leading up to this summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil.
There are a few surprises in the German team with Marcell Jansen getting the nod ahead of Marcel Schmelzer, and Bastian Schweinsteiger joins Philipp Lahm in a new-look all-Bayern defensive midfield partnership. There’s an exciting-looking midfield trio of Mario Götze, Toni Kroos and Mesut Özil, while the fit-again Miroslav Klose gets his chance to score than elusive 69th international goal.
With striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga having to pull out with a thigh strain, all three of the remaining Neulings make the bench. Joining them are Roman Weidenfeller, Schmelzer, Lukas Podolski and André Schürrle. Of the original squad, the unlucky ones are Lars Bender and Sidney Sam.
1 min. Sporting their new red and black hooped Trikot, the home side get things under way. Their opponents are in an all-white ensemble with blue socks.
4 mins. It has been a quiet start, and the opening minutes seem to have just floated by. Chile punt a long ball towards the German box, but Alexei Sánchez is flagged offside.
5 mins. There’s a dangerous looking cross from the Chileans, but Jérôme Boateng is on the spot to deal with the threat with little fuss.
7 mins. The Chileans up the ante with the German defence looking just a little shaky. Winger Jean Beausejour sends in another cross after an error from Jansen, and with the ball floating about in the German box Manuel Neuer collects.
8 mins. A fantastic diagonal ball opens up the German defence, and Boateng is there again to quell the danger. From the resulting corner, Lahm clears off the line as the unmarked Arturo Vidal gets in a firm header on target. The home side are looking slightly rattled here by their opponents’ bold start.
10 mins. After a slow opening sparring session, the Chileans are really taking the game to Jogi Löw’s side now. The South Americans are keeping possession beautifully, and it’s all hands to the pump for the Mannschaft.
12 mins. Germany put a few passes together as they move down the left, but Götze’s intended pass for Schweinsteiger is woefully overhit.
13 mins. A swift German break sees Schweinsteiger charge down the right, but his cross is easily collected by ‘keeper Johnny Herrera. Just a flash there of the Germans at their counter-attacking best.
16 mins. Germany break at pace, and Schweinsteiger finds Özil inside the Chilean box. The German number ten looks as though he is going to lose possession after a poor first touch, but regains control to tap the ball inside towards Götze. The FC Bayern man controls the ball beautifully before lifting it over Herrera with a smooth sweep of his left foot. A fantastic finish, and the Mannschaft are in front – though clearly against the run of play. 1-0.
17 mins. Eduardo Vargas almost finds some space in the German box, but Kevin Großkreutz closes him down nicely. It’s real end to end stuff if what has been a very open encounter.
21 mins. Filipe Gutiérrez is booked for a late challenge on Lahm.
22 mins. Left-back Jansen has taken a slight knock, and it doesn’t look good for the Hamburger SV man.
23 mins. Vargas gets in a snapshot on the German goal, and Neuer collects.
24 mins. Jansen hobbles off with what looks like an ankle injury, and is replaced by Marcel Schmelzer. Without being too unfair to Jansen, we now have the eleven everybody expected to see at the kick-off.
26 mins. Taking advantage of a lapse from Schweinsteiger, Chile break down the right and open up the German defence again, but with the goal at his mercy Vidal tamely hits the ball straight into the arms of the grateful Neuer.
27 mins. The South Americans win a free-kick just outside the German penalty area, but Gutiérrez sends his shot well wide of the target.
30 mins. Lahm sets up Großkreutz who sends his shot goalwards, and despite the slight deflection from Klose Herrera dives to his right and takes the ball with both hands. Germany are playing to the now-established pattern: shaky at the back and at risk of being caught flat-footed on the break, but capable of unlocking any opposition defence.
33 mins. The Germans win a corner which is easily headed away by a white shirt, but the Chileans fail to clear their lines as Per Mertesacker intercepts. The ball falls to Götze, who jinks inside his marker before bending the ball just wide of the far post.
37 mins. Chile are playing a fast-paced expansive game, but in spraying the ball about are also looking a little suspect at the back. There are more goals to come in this game, for sure.
40 mins. Schweinsteiger, Özil and Götze threaten to winkle open the Chilean defence but Götze’s attempted cross into the box is blocked and cleared.
41 mins. Another lovely move from the Chileans down the right, and a nicely looped cross into the box is brilliantly intercepted by Schweinsteiger with a perfectly-timed challenge on Gutiérrez. The resulting corner comes to nothing.
43 mins. Özil has the ball at his feet inside the opposition penalty area, but the move breaks down as he looks for support.
44 mins. A rare mistake from Kroos helps set up another Chilean counterattack, and a series of short, sharp passes ends with Charles Aránguiz sending a header just wide of the target. Moments later, Vidal spurns another great opportunity.
45 mins. After a minute or so of additional time referee Clattenburg blows for half time.
Germany have the lead, but it has been one hell of a test against a bold and fast-past Chilean side who could very easily have been in front had they taken their chances.
With the defence looking shaky there are still plenty of issues for the German coach, and rare errors from the likes of Schweinsteiger and Kroos haven’t helped against an opponent that has looked dangerous for nearly all of the opening forty-five minutes.
There are changes being made by the German coach, with André Schürrle coming on for Klose. To be fair, the Lazio striker has had a very quite game. So, one more game passes and Gerd Müller’s goalscoring record remains intact.
46 mins. Chile get the second half started.
47 mins. Aránguiz hesitates in the German box after yet another crisp series of passes, and a well-positioned Lahm clears the danger. The second half as started as the first ended, with the visitors on top.
48 mins. Gutiérrez sends a looped free-kick into the penalty area, but it is well confidently plucked out of the air by the dominant Neuer.
53 mins. More Chilean pressure results in a bonus corner, and it’s like a pinball machine in the German box. A header from Vargas is cleared by Lahm via Boateng’s chest, and the referee waves away the appeals for handball.
55 mins. Großkreutz makes space and gets a decent shot on target, but it is straight at Herrera.
58 mins. Sweeper-keeper Neuer almost gives the ball away with a badly-timed clearance. It has been all Chile so far, and Jogi Löw is starting to get animated on the touchline. The Mannschaft are being given little time to breathe by their energetic opponents who have at times been quite relentless.
61 mins. Another stunning move from Chile as Sánchez charges down the right and side-steps Mertesacker before cutting the ball back inside. Vargas collects, and with goal at his mercy smashes his shot against the underside of the bar with Neuer beaten.
65 mins. Kroos and Schürrle combine nicely to set up Lahm, but the German skipper can’t quite get the ball under control to take a shot at goal.
66 mins. Germany create another half chance as a clever little reverse pass from Götze is just a little too strong for Schürrle.
67 mins. There are a few whistles coming from the Cannstatter Kurve now. The Chileans are continuing to chase every ball and the home side cannot even string half a dozen passes together without the move breaking down.
69 mins. Sánchez makes his way to the byline for the umpteenth time, and his low cross is blocked by Neuer. The ball could have gone anywhere, but somehow the ball stays out of the German net.
70 mins. Özil shows some great skill to set up Götze with a deft flick with the outside of his left boot, but the alert Herrera is quickly off his line to make the save with his legs.
72 mins. As the play switches to the other side, yet another cross fizzes across the German six-yard box as Aránguiz desperately tries to reach it.
73 mins. Mertesacker half-clears from his own penalty area, and Gutiérrez almost returns it with interest as his volley fizzes wide of the target. The shot count is going to make interesting reading.
74 mins. Vargas squeezes his way into the danger area but Großkreutz does brilliantly to make the challenge.
76 mins. Chile make their first change of the evening, as Jorge Valdivia comes on for the excellent Beausejour.
78 mins. Yet another defence-splitting pass down the right sees the dangerous Sanchez in space, but his cross is cut back just a little too far and Mertesacker clears.
80 mins. It’s another change for Chile as Aránguiz is replaced by Fabian Orellana.
81 mins. Germany break and there is plenty of space for Schweinsteiger whose shot from distance is turned behind by Herrera. The corner once again is disappointing and Chile clear their lines.
82 mins. A third change for each side now, as Lukas Podolski comes on for goalscorer Götze for Germany and Marcos González comes on for Francisco Silva for the Chileans.
84 mins. Podolski is immediately gifted a half-chance by Herrera, whose attempt to emulate Colombian legend René Higuita almost ends in disaster.
86 mins. It looks like Chile are going to keep running hard right until the end, and Boateng is on hand to foil yet another twinkle-toed run by a man in a white shirt. Chile make their fourth change as Eduardo Vargas makes way for Mauricio Pinilla.
89 mins. Podolski works hard to win a corner, but meanwhile there’s a change as SC Freiburg centre-back Matthias Ginter comes on for Özil to make his international debut – the 58th new face of the Jogi Löw era. As the clock ticks into injury time, Matías Fernández replaces Vidal. True to form, the corner comes to nothing.
90+2 mins. Chile win a late free-kick which is cleared, and Podolski wins a free-kick at the other end as the clock keeps on ticking.
90+4 mins. The final whistle is blown, and is accompanied by some additional whistles by the crowd.
Somehow, Germany have managed to withstand an almost relentless assault from and exciting and energetic Chilean side to eke out a very flattering and arguably undeserved win. In a game dominated by their opponents, Jogi Löw’s side would be put to the sword by an impressive collection of forwards who simply couldn’t execute that crucial final touch.
Once again there will be plenty of questions for the Nationaltrainer, whose team couldn’t find any answers to the robust game played by the Chileans. Apart from the excellent Jérôme Boateng the defence would continue to look suspect, but more worrying was the way the usually dominant midfield would be almost completely nullified by a well-coordinated Chilean unit.
On the other hand, it’s the result that counts – and the one chance would be wonderfully finished by Mario Götze with what was a moment of magic.
Mercedes-Benz-Arena, Stuttgart, 05.03.2014
Götze 16. / –
Germany: Neuer – Großkreutz, Boateng, Mertesacker, Jansen (24. Schmelzer) – Lahm (c), Schweinsteiger – Özil (89. Ginter*) Kroos, Götze (83. Podolski), – Klose (46. Schürrle)
Chile: Herrera – Medel (c), Silva (M. González 83.), Jara, Gutiérrez – Isla, Aránguiz (80. Orellana), Beausejour (76. Valdivia) – Vidal (90. M. Fernández) – Sánchez, Vargas (86. Pinilla)
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (England)
Assistants: Peter Kirkup, Jake Colin (England)
Fourth Official: Marco Fritz (Germany)
Yellow Cards: – / Gutiérrez
Red Cards: – / –
Attempts on Target: 4 / 5
Attempts off Target: 1 / 5
Corners: 4 / 14
Fouls Committed: 10 / 10
* Full International Debut