No Schmelzer, but plenty of surprises

So, no Marcel Schmelzer after all… He’s officially unfit to start, we’re told. Per Mertesacker is back into the starting eleven, with Holger Badstuber shunted out to the left as skipper Philipp Lahm starts in his favourite right-back position. Oh, and Mario Götze is in as part of a new midfield foursome as Jogi Löw presents what is clearly a new-look 4-1-4-1 formation.

So, briefly: Manuel Neuer is back between the sticks, there’s a new-look back four with Mats Hummels partnering Mertesacker in the centre, and Sami Khedira is sitting on his own in front of the defence. The four-man attacking midfield sees Götze join Mesut Özil in the centre, with Thomas Müller out on the right and Marco Reus on the left. Up front by himself is Miroslav Klose, winning his 123rd international cap.

The home side are in their traditional Schwarz und Weiß ensemble with their Faroese opponents in all blue, and Scottish referee Bobby Madden gets things underway on what is a warm an pleasant evening in Lower Saxony.

1 min. The visitors kick off. Germany make their first foray, and Klose is flagged offside. It looks a little marginal, but the decision is probably correct.

3 mins. Klose wins a free-kick right at the edge of the opposition box as Faroese centre-half Rógvi Baldvinsson earns an early yellow card. Mesut Özil’s free-kick is deflected off the defensive wall and into the arms of ‘keeper Gunnar Nielsen.

6 mins. The Faroes briefly threaten to attack, but the home side look pretty settled.

7 mins. Thomas Müller weaves his way down the right, and dinks a delightful ball into the box which is collected by Marco Reus. The Borussia Dortmund man’s well-struck shot is excellently blocked by Nielsen.

9 mins. It’s Müller again, and this time the Bayern man finds Sami Khedira whose attempted curler flies a few metres wide of the far post.

11 mins. Mario Götze finds Klose just outside the Faroese penalty area, and the veteran skips his marker’s challenge to set up Khedira, whose firmly-hit left-footed shot from the edge of the box is brilliantly turned around the base of the post by Nielsen.

12 mins. The Faroes threaten briefly again but the busy Götze is on hand to mop things up at the back as he dispossesses Hallur Hansson.

13 mins. A Holger Badstuber effect is palmed behind by Nielsen.

19 mins. Philipp Lahm creates space in the some forty yards out, and swings in a teasing cross into the opposition box. Klose is there and leaps above the defender before sending his header just over the bar.

20 mins. It’s that man Nielsen again, as the Mannschaft slice open the blue defence yet again and Thomas Müller’s shot is palmed away by the Faroese ‘keeper. Great dribble and setup by Mario Götze to set up the chance.

22 mins. Götze and Müller combine in another swift move down the right, and Müller’s flat cross is well directed towards goal by Reus. There’s Nielsen again however, diving to his left and making yet another terrific save. He’s keeping his side in the game, but surely something has to give.

26 mins. Hummels storms forward and finds Klose, and the striker’s slightly scuffed right-footed shot is on target and parried by the immovable object that is Gunnar Nielsen.

28 mins. Endlich! Mats Hummels picks out Götze, who swivels beautifully between two defenders before dribbling into the box and sliding the ball with his right foot low into the left of the Faroese net from around fifteen yards. There’s no chance for Nielsen this time, and the Mannschaft are in front. 1-0.

31 mins. It’s a pinball show inside the Faroese box as the ball doesn’t quite fall for both Klose and then Khedira.

35 mins. Joachim Löw’s side are passing the ball around nicely, but a few people in the crowd are getting a little impatient. What feels like a hundred-pass move ends when a Klose cross is nodded behind for a corner.

37 mins. Götze seems to be everywhere at the moment, and this time he combines with Reus down the left. Reus makes his way to the byline and cuts the ball back into the box for Klose, who has to adjust slightly before sending his shot over the bar. The ball could have been a little kinder to him, but that should really have been Klose’s sixty-fifth international goal.

40 mins. Some smart combination play between Khedira and Özil, and the midfield playmaker sends a smart ball through to his Real Madrid team mate who stabs the ball which is collected by Nielsen.

42 mins. Philipp Lahm has not had the best of halves, and is booked for a clumsy challenge on Christian Holst.

43 mins. Özil gets in behind the opposition defence, and deftly cuts the ball back for Khedira whose shot is well blocked by Baldvinsson.

44 mins. The Faroes win their first corner, and Lahm makes a good clearance from inside his six-yard box.

45 mins. Götze works his way down the left, and finds Reus who nonchalantly flicks the ball over his head and into the middle of the box. The ball is met by Müller, whose header is on target and turned over the bar by Nielsen. On another day this could have been five or six for the Mannschaft, but Nielsen has been outstanding for what has been a hard-working Faroese side.

45+1 mins. The whistle blows for half-time, and it has been a solid performance from the home side, with Faroes ‘keeper Gunnar Nielsen being the difference between a slender 1-0 advantage and a landslide. There are some whistles from the crowd – some people are just a little bit too impatient.

46 mins. There’s a half-time change for the Faroes as Suni Olsen is on for Daniel Udsen.

48 mins. A good break for Lars Olsen’s side, as Joan Simun Edmundsson charges down the left and finds Simun Samuelsen, whose shot gives Manuel Neuer his first action of the evening. The German Torhüter safely collects.

51 mins. It’s two corners in as many minutes for the Mannschaft, but there’s nothing there to threaten the Faroese defence.

54 mins. The Faroes win a corner themselves, but the home side turn defence swiftly into attack as Khedira comes away with the ball and finds Özil. The number eight charges forward into the opposition half and finds Müller on the right, and the Bayern man works his way past his marker and sends the ball back into the box. Having continued his run, Özil strokes the ball into the net with his left foot from some eight metres. It is the playmaker’s tenth international goal: 2-0.

59 mins. More neat one-touch stuff from the home side, and Özil sends a shot wide of the right post.

60 mins. Klose finds Lahm on the right flank, and the skipper dribbles inside between two defenders before lifting a teasing cross into the box that is well met by Nielsen. The ball comes to Khedira, who smashes the ball towards goal but straight into Hansson who blocks bravely.

62 mins. Özil weaves his way down the left, and rolls the ball inside to Reus whose clipped shot pings off the left corner of the goal frame.

65 mins. The visitors make their second change, as Hjalgrim Elttør comes on for Samuelson.

66 mins. Nielsen is called into action yet again he dives smartly to his right to deny Özil who shoots from the edge of the box after being set up by Götze.

68 mins. The hard-working Müller is replaced by André Schürrle as Jogi Löw makes his first personnel change of the evening.

69 mins. Özil sends Schürrle through, but the Leverkusen man is spared the embarrassment for a poor first touch as he is correctly flagged offside.

71 mins. Reus pounces on a mistake just inside the opposition half, and weaves forward before finding Özil, who almost strolls between two defenders before bundling the ball past Nielsen. 3-0, and it’s surely game over now.

75 mins. Lukas Podolski is on for Klose.

76 mins. Schürrle shows some good pace and aGermany win their tenth and eleventh corners of the match, but once again there’s little in the way of a threat.

79 mins. Lahm makes another swift burst down the right towards the byline, but cannot find a white shirt with his cutback and the ball is hacked away by the desperate Faroese defence and deflected behind for a corner.

80 mins. It’s now a dozen corners for the home team, but once again the result is harmless as the blue-shirted defence clear easily.

82 mins. A rare attack for the visitors. Holst’s shot skids and takes an awkward bounce which foxes Neuer and almost sees the ball spin back into the net, but the German ‘keeper gets enough on it to avert the danger.

85 mins. The final change for the visitors as Edmundsson is replaced by Klæmint Olsen. The home crowd are in good voice as the game enters the final five minutes.

87 mins. Schalke 04 youngster Julian Draxler is on for the final few minutes as he replaces the excellent Götze.

89 mins. Schürrle gets a shot on goal that is well blocked by Odmar Færø.

90+3 mins. The final whistle is blown, and it’s job done in this opening World Cup qualifier. It could very easily have been more and there is definite scope for improvement, but this has been a satisfactory performance from Jogi Löw’s side.

v Faroe Islands, AWD-Arena, Hannover, 07.09.2012
Faroe Islands

3-0 (1-0)
Götze 28., Özil 54., 71. / –

Germany: Neuer – Lahm (c), Hummels, Mertesacker, Badstuber – Khedira – Müller (68. Schürrle), Özil, Götze (87. Draxler), Reus – Klose (75. Podolski)

Faroe Islands: Nielsen – Næs, Baldvinsson, Færø, Justinussen – Hansson – Holst, Benjaminsen (c) – Samuelsen (65. Elttør), Udsen (46. S. Olsen) – Edmundsson (85. K. Olsen)

Referee: Bobby Madden (Scotland)
Assistants: Willie Conquer, Alan Mulvanny (Scotland)
Fourth Official: Arnold Hunter (Northern Ireland)

Yellow Cards: Lahm 42. / Baldvinsson 4.
Red Cards: – / –

Attempts on Target: 11 / 2
Attempts off Target: 20 / 2
Corners: 14 / 2
Fouls Committed: 7 / 11

Attendance: 32,769

No Schmelzer, but plenty of surprises
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