After the relaxed – if sightly fraught – opening Confederations Cup game against Australia, Joachim Löw’s young team were given a thorough test by an experienced and well-drilled Chilean outfit. It was a game they grew into – having been under the cosh for the most part, they emerged with a more than creditable draw that provides further proof that the coach’s long-term goals remain on track.
It was yet one more step up on the learning curve, and there was plenty to take from this game. A number of these new names are have taken the opportunity to firmly nail their banners to the wall, putting themselves in contention for a place at the World Cup next year. For the coach, it is exactly where he wanted to be.
Facts and Stats
This was Germany’s eighth meeting against the current South American champions, and they come into the match with a record of five wins and two defeats. In competitive internationals the record was healthier three wins from three matches played, with victories in the World Cup in 1962, 1974 and 1982 – a perfect record that would go after the draw in Kazan.
Of the previous four friendlies, both teams had won two each, with Germany winning the most recent meeting 1-0 in Stuttgart in March 2014. To find the Mannschaft’s last defeat at the hands of La Roja, you would have to go back almost forty years and a 2-1 defeat in Santiago in December 1968.
Perhaps the most significant statistical feature was the difference in the number of caps between the two teams. The eleven players who walked out on to the pitch for Germany would have just 153 appearances between them, with just over a third of this number attributed to skipper Julian Draxler (31 caps) left-back and Jonas Hector (30).
In contrast, Chile’s starting eleven would have a collective total of no fewer than eight hundred caps, including three centurions. I cannot recall ever seeing a bigger experience gap in a competitive international fixture.
The result ensured that Germany’s unbeaten run since the Euro 2016 semi-final defeat was extended to twelve matches, with ten wins and two draws.
It was always going to be a tough match against a skilful Chilean side which provides as much enthusiasm and energy as it does skill and technique, and the slightly reworked German team initially found it hard to find its feet against their opponents’ robust pressing game. When Skhodran Mustafi’s misplaced pass allowed Alexis Sánchez to give the South Americans the lead, it was hard to not see more of the same. Mustafi was probably lucky to stay on the field, his reckless late challenge on Arturo Vidal just moments before the goal going unpunished.
Chile would have their chances to build on their advantage, and could very easily have been further in front before Germany had even fired a shot in anger. More poor defending from Mustafi and Matthias Ginter almost allowed Marcelo Diáz from doubling the lead, and Eduardo Vargas must have been cursing his luck when he hammer of a shot crashed against the underside of the crossbar with ‘keeper Marc-André ter Stegen completely beaten.
Until the forty-minute mark, there was only one team in the contest. Germany’s passing game had been curtailed and Chile were making all the running, and the only positive was that the deficit was not even bigger. It was at that point that we saw a moment of magic that would completely readdress the balance.
Lars Stindl is a player that has earned positive reviews for the past couple of Bundesliga seasons, and with good reason. Not a typical striker, he is a versatile player who combines intelligence and smart play in the middle of the pitch with a good finisher’s eye. His equaliser four minutes before the break was a perfect response to the almost oppressive Chilean pressure, the culmination of a move that saw the men in white swiftly cover the entire length of the pitch.
The move was initiated by Emre Can, another player who will surely gain in confidence if allowed to assume the roving role he desires in the middle of the park. Having charged from deep inside his own half, the Liverpool man released Jonas Hector on the left with a pass of sublime quality, and the left wing-back’s cross was equally well delivered.
The finish from Stindl was the perfect cherry on top. Timing his run to perfection and getting in front of his marker, the Borussia Mönchengladbach skipper’s finish was almost a carbon copy of Stefan Kuntz’s sharp strike against England in the Euro 1996 semi-final. Bang, bang, bang, goal.
The goal had come just at the right time. It not only boosted the young team’s confidence, but also forced Chile out of the comfort zone they had created for much of the opening exchanges. The storm had been weathered, and the second half, as a result, was a far more balanced affair with the Germans possibly edging it.
Chances were few in the second half, and as the match drew to a close both teams were fairly satisfied with the outcome. Tied at the top on four points, there is everything to play for in the final round of matches that will determine who will take on Portugal in one semi-final or Mexico in the other.
Conclusions and Ratings
This was a game were Joachim Löw’s charges overcame a sticky start, but fulfilled the expected brief. Up against a talent and experienced opponent, the 1-1 draw was an excellent result and the perfect immersion into the tough world of competitive tournament play. Germany were far more of a physical presence in the second half, which did much to nullify the threat from Juan Antonio Pizzi’s side.
Interestingly, the coach would stick with his starting eleven for the whole ninety minutes for the first time in his 149 matches in charge.
Marc-André ter Stegen
Could do nothing to prevent Sánchez’s goal, and was probably a little lucky not to be beaten for a second time when Vargas’ shot crashed against the woodwork. However, he looked more confident and solid as the game progressed.
Started a little shakily and was put under pressure early on, and was one of many guilty of loose passes and errors. Was occasionally short of pace, but not tested as much as the game went on.
Not the best outing for the central defender, whose sloppy pass gifted Chile with their early goal. He could also have seen red for his brainless challenge on Vidal. Things did not get much better as things went on, and there were a couple of errors in the second half too.
A decent showing by the big central defender, who imposed his physicality on the opposition. Had work to do in the first half, but was a strong presence in the second.
Not his greatest outing in the Nationaltrikot, but not bad either. Was outpaced by Sánchez for Chile’s goal, but continued to work hard for the entire ninety minutes. One of the team’s more consistent performers, the FC Bayern youngster is slowly establishing himself as a first choice selection.
Was unable to impose himself in an attacking sense, but was a calm presence at the back as the German midfield was put under pressure early on. Took a booking for the team late on.
A powerful performance, illustrated by his run that created the equalising goal. Matched his strength with the skill to deliver a defence-slicing pass, and was one of the better performers for the Mannschaft in what was a fairly mixed team performance.
Was not really tested at the back, and grew as an attacking force as the game went on. Made good ground to deliver the crucial cross for the equaliser.
Was busy, but far less effective that against Australia in the opening game. Was largely anonymous for most of the first half, but was more noticeable in the second.
The skipper will have better games, and like Goretzka, did not have much of an impact in what was a fairly ordinary first half. Improved in the second half as Germany came back into the game.
Showed plenty of energy without getting much service, but showed just how effective he can be with an excellently-taken goal four minutes from half time. Simple, effective, clinical.
ter Stegen (2), Ginter (4), Mustafi (5), Süle (2), Kimmich (3), Rudy (3), Can (2), Hector (2), Goretzka (4), Draxler (3), Stindl (2)
ter Stegen (3), Ginter (3), Mustafi (5), Süle (3), Kimmich (3), Rudy (3.5), Can (2.5), Hector (2.5), Goretzka (4), Draxler (4), Stindl (2)
ter Stegen (3), Ginter (3.5), Mustafi (5), Süle (2.5), Kimmich (3), Rudy (3), Can (2), Hector (2.5), Goretzka (4), Draxler (4), Stindl (2)