The prestige friendly in Dortmund against Argentina sees a starting lineup for Germany with two new faces, both from SC Freiburg who has surprised many in the Bundesliga following their good start to the season. Defender Robin Koch and striker Luca Waldschmidt join what is a young and inexperienced-looking starting eleven, with FC Bayern München’s Joshua Kimmich wearing the Kapitänsbinde for the first time.
In the last meeting between these two footballing superpowers, Jogi Löw’s men had fallen to a 2-4 defeat in Düsseldorf in September 2014, two months after the Nationalmannschaft’s World Cup final victory in Rio de Janeiro.
1 min. A shrill peep from French referee Clément Turpin’s whistle, and Argentina kick off. The home side are kitted out in an all-white ensemble, while the side now coached by Lionel Scaloni are in all black.
4 mins. Both sides scoping each other out. A slow and rather uneventful opening four minutes.
5 mins. The men in white a passing the ball around now, and Kai Havertz’ cross is easily collected by Argentinian ‘keeper Agustín Marchesín.
7 mins. Havertz releases Serge Gnabry who beats his marker in sprinting towards the byline, but he cannot keep the ball in play.
9 mins. Roberto Pereyra swings in a cross for Argentina who break quickly, but Emre Can clears the danger with Lautaro Martínez lurking. Can’s foot was a little high, but there are no protests from Argentina as play continues.
11 mins. It is now Argentina’s turn play some keep-ball with some slick passing. Kimmich looks to disrupt, and is booked for a clumsy challenge.
13 mins. Gnabry bursts down the right, but is flagged for offside. That was marginal.
14 mins. Another German move, and Julian Brandt has a low shot on goal. The finish is not great, and its is easy for Marchesín.
15 mins. We have the first goal. Niklas Süle sends a long floated ball out to the right, which is collected by Lukas Klostermann. The RB Leipzig man’s cross into the box is well collected by Gnabry, who executes a perfectly-timed right-footed finish into the bottom left-hand corner. It is Gnabry’s tenth goal in the Nationaltrikot, in just eleven matches. 1-0.
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17 mins. Germany win the ball in midfield, setting off another quick break. Kimmich finds Brandt out to his right, but Marcos Rojo does enough to get in a foot in before the Dortmund man can think about having a shot. Corner to Germany.
18 mins. Emre Can fires from distance and earns another corner. Halstenberg swings it in nicely and Koch gets there, but Marchesín makes the catch look fairly easy.
22 mins. This is looking good now. Yet again the home side win the ball in midfield, and Klostermann barrels forward with intent. The Leipzig full-back finds Gnabry, whose perfectly weighted pass is on a plate for Havertz. The Leverkusen midfielder cannot miss, and buries the chance with his left foot. 2-0.
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) October 9, 2019
25 mins. Another fast break, and this time is is Can charging forward into the Argentinian penalty area. The defender is a little too strong though.
26 mins. Nicolás Otamendi is late on Brandt. Free-kick for Germany, yellow card for the Manchester City man.
27 mins. The free-kick is straight from the training ground, and almost perfectly executed. Halstenberg’s deep cross out to the right is nodded back inside by Süle towards the far post, and Brandt almost gets there.
30 mins. Rodrigo De Paul is all over Gnabry like a rash, and is booked.
31 mins. Almost three. With a swing of his left foot, Halstenberg smashes his free-kick which clatters against the underside of the crossbar. Marchesín might have got a hand to it, but that was close.
32 mins. Argentina have their first meaningful shot on goal, and it is almost a beauty. De Paul’s shot is beautifully struck, beating Marc-André ter Stegen before smashing against the left upright.
36 mins. Another sniff of a chance in the Argentinian box, with Gnabry and Brandt involved.
37 mins. Corner for Argentina. The rain is hammering down in Dortmund, and Gnabry heads clear. He is all over the pitch at the moment.
40 mins. Argentina win a free-kick out on the right that is well worked into space, but de Paul’s effort from distance is in complete contrast to his first. One could be watching a conversion for los Pumas in the Rugby World Cup in Japan. No two points though, just jeers from the home crowd as the ball balloons into the stand.
45 mins. It has been an assured display from Löw’s men so far. A quick free-kick from Kimmich finds Gnabry out on the right. The striker’s first-time shot skids narrowly wide of the far post.
The whistle blows for half-time. What a lovely first half from this young German team. The commitment has been intense, the passing slick, and the movement swift. Serge Gnabry continues to impress, following his neat opening goal with a lovely assist to provide Kai Havertz with his first international goal.
Argentina will start the second half with two changes. Rojo is replaced by Marcos Acuña, while Correa is replaced by Lucas Ocampos.
46 mins. Germany restart.
47 mins. The first sniff of the second half for the men in all white. Gnabry chases hard, but the defender does well to concede the corner. The ball is swing out wide, and Waldschmidt get in a decent strike. Side netting though.
50 mins. Argentina win a corner, but Koch is there first to clear.
52 mins. Gnabry is everywhere again. He looks for a smart pass which is intercepted, but then tracks back to win the ball back. Cue more short passes.
54 mins. Another lovely move, with Havertz right in the middle of it. With an elegance reminiscent of a young Beckenbauer in his pomp, the Leverkusen man finds Emre Can in space. Sadly Can’s prodded finish is blocked by the ‘keeper who sticks out a foot.
57 mins. More crisp passing from the Germans, but a rather weak shot from Brandt to finish the move. Too easy for Marchesín.
62 mins. Another change for the Albiceleste. The disappointing – and frankly anonymous – Pablo Dybala makes way for Bayer Leverkusen’s Lucas Alario.
65 mins. Out of nothing, Argentina have a goal. Alario has only had three minutes on the pitch, and his header to meet Acuña’s cross is well-directed past ter Stegen to give the visitors an unexpected foothold. 2-1.
66 mins. The first switch of the evening from the Nationaltrainer. Leverkusen’s Nadiem Amiri steps on to the pitch for the first time at senior level, replacing the slightly disappointing Brandt.
70 mins. After being so assured for so long, there a few wobbles at the back now. Argentina are pressing for an equaliser, and it is going to be an interesting final twenty minutes. Leandro Paredes has a shot which is on target, and ter Stegen makes it look far more spectacular than it should have been.
71 mins. Another change for Germany, and another debutant. Gnabry gets a breather, making way for FC Schalke 04’s Suat Serdar.
74 mins. Amiri looks to dart inside two defenders out on the left, and wins a free-kick just outside the box.
75 mins. Kimmich lets tip, and Marchesín punches clear. Not the most confident clearance from the Argentina ‘keeper, but effective enough to keep the score at 2-1.
76 mins. The changes are coming in quickly now. Argentina make their fourth change as Pereyra makes way for Renzo Saravia.
78 mins. Can gives the ball away, Alario creates enough space to fire in a shot that fizzes narrowly wide of the base of the left post. There must have been the slightest of deflections, as the referee signals for a corner.
79 mins. Alario has made a massive difference for the visitors, but the German defence is looking pretty sloppy now. There’s another half chance for the substitute.
82 mins. It is all Argentina at the moment, and the men in white cannot get the ball out of their own half at the moment.
83 mins. After disappointing spells in Munich and Gelsenkirchen, Sebastian Rudy is back at Hoffenheim. He is also back in the international fold, replacing the excellent Havertz.
84 mins. Klostermann is clattered, and Ocampos makes his way into Monsieur Turpin’s notebook.
85 mins. After the great first half, it is been a truly disappointing second half for the Nationalmannschaft. Moments after being booked Ocampos gets a shot on goal, and the slightest of deflections off Can takes ball past ter Stegen and into the back of the net. Alario was involved again. That was one hell of a change from Scaloni. 2-2.
87 mins. It is getting a bit tetchy out there. So sneaky fouls, and shenanigans from the Argentinian bench. Assistant coach Walter Samuel is booked. Standard stuff.
88 mins. Almost another opportunity for Argentina, and more iffy defending from Jogi’s jittery Jungs.
90 mins. There will be two additional minutes.
90+2 mins. There is just enough time for another Argentinian substitution. Guido Rodríguez is on for de Paul. After a few seconds, the referee signals the end of the match. That has to be one of the shortest international appearances ever.
It is a well-worn cliché, but that was a game of two halves. Two very contrasting halves. If Germany were sublime in the first half, they were shockingly sloppy in the second. The assured and smooth team of the first half had transformed into a blob of jelly in the second, and could very easily have conceded a third goal.
This has become a very worrying trend, and is something coach will need to fix. Though we have said this before, of course. Germany looking good, dominating the opposition, then almost inexplicably throwing away a comfortable lead as they crumble under any sort of pressure or tactical switch. It has become a thing.
Next up, its back to the Euro 2020 qualifiers with Estonia in Tallinn at the weekend.
v Argentina, Signal-Iduna-Park, Dortmund, 09.10.2019
Gnabry 15., Havertz 22. / Alario 65., Ocampos 85.
Germany: ter Stegen – Klostermann, Süle, Koch*, Halstenberg – Can, Kimmich (c), Havertz (83. Rudy) – Gnabry (71. Serdar*), Waldschmidt*, Brandt (66. Amiri*)
Argentina: Marchesín – Foyth, Otamendi, Rojo (46. Acuña), Tagliafico – Paredes, Pereyra (76. Saravia), de Paul (90+2. Rodríguez), Correa (46. Ocampos) – Dybala (62. Alario), L. Martínez
Referee: Clément Turpin (France)
Assistants: Nicolas Danos (France), Cyril Gringore (France)
Fourth Official: Ruddy Buquet (France)
Yellow Cards: Kimmich 11. / Otamendi 26., de Paul 30., Ocampos 83.
Red Cards: – / –
Ball Possession: 45% / 55%
Attempts on Target: 6 / 3
Attempts off Target: 7 / 8
Corners: 4 / 5
Fouls Committed: 16 / 12
*Full international debut