Stade Félix Bollaert, Lens, 17.06.1984
Völler 25., 66. / Coraş 46.
Having been held in the opening match against Portugal Jupp Derwall’s side were desperate to get their tournament back on track in the city of Lens against Romania, who like Portugal were making their first appearance at the European Championship finals. Like the opening fixture against Portugal, the match would be Germany’s first competitive encounter against the Balkan nation.
Derwall opted for a far more attacking formation than in the opening group fixture, with the biggest changes taking place in midfield where the the defensively-minded Wolfgang Rolff and Guido Buchwald would be replaced by the more mobile Lothar Matthäus and Norbert Meier. The Nationaltrainer’s intentions were made clear by the selection of a three-man attack, with skipper Karl-Heinz Rummenigge leading the line alongside Klaus Allofs and Rudi Völler.
Led out by Dutch referee Jan Keizer, the two teams took to the field on what was a bright afternoon in the northern French city of Lens, with Germany in their familiar white shirts and black shorts and the Romanians in an all-red change kit.
The opening twenty minutes would pass by with little incident as both sides attemped to establish themselves, with half-chances falling to Rodion Cămătaru whose header was well held by Toni Schumacher and at the other end Klaus Allofs whose shot from distance provided some early catching practice for Romanian ‘keeper Silviu Lung. With little else to cheer, small pockets of the restless crowd continued to focus their attention on Schumacher, who once again found himself subjected to jeers and whistles whenever he touched the ball.
After the cagey and somewhat unexciting start to the match the Nationalmannschaft looked to have settled down first, showing far more urgency than they had offered against Portugal; the midfield was clearly more offensively-minded with the addition of Matthäus and Meier, and it was the latter in particular who quickly made an impression.
With twenty-five minutes gone Jupp Derwall’s side would finally break the deadlock with their first goal of the tournament. After the Romanians failed to clear their lines the loose ball would be picked up by Andy Brehme just outside the Romanian box, who found Meier out to his left. Maier’s excellent twist and feint allowed him to easily outwit the right-back, and having made his way to the edge of the penalty area delivered a pin-point cross with his left foot towards the far post. There to meet it would be the arch-predator Völler, who timed his leap perfectly to nod the ball past Lung. The Romanian ‘keeper had rushed off his line to meet the ball, but only succeeding in ending up in a heap on the ground as the ball found its way into the back of the net.
Klaus Allofs is surrounded by red shirts against Romania in Lens
Within seconds of the restart Uli Stielike would become the first player to make his way into Mr. Keizer’s notebook as he took out Michael Klein, but the Romanian free-kick would come to nothing as Germany broke quickly through Meier, whose cross was this time collected by Lung as skipper Karl-Heinz Rummenigge charged into the box. Jupp Derwall’s side were now defending well and looking increasingly dangerous on the break, and just past the half-hour mark another well-crafted move through the middle and down the left would see Andreas Brehme crack a left-footed shot on target that was well parried by the Romanian ‘keeper.
Mircea Lucescu’s side were struggling to retain possession, resorting to hopeful long balls that posed little threat to Schumacher in the German goal. At the other end Meier shot narrowly over the bar, the bustling Hans-Peter Briegel shot wide of the target and Völler was unlucky not to get more power on the ball as his snapshot found its way into the arms of Lung. As the half-time whistle approached the German attack would continue to press, with Klaus Allofs testing Lung with a well-struck long-range effort before scuffing wide of the target moments later.
As both sides left the field at half-time the Mannschaft clearly deserved their lead, but it could so easily have been more were it not for a number of misdirected shots and the performance of Lung in the Romanian goal, who had very quickly made up for the error that had allowed Völler to score his twenty-fifth minute opener. Despite the fact that the Romanians had made little impression up front during the first forty-five minutes, they had shown in their opening game against Spain that they couldn’t be underestimated.
The fragility of the one-goal lead would be highlighted within twenty seconds of the restart. A defensive lapse by an inattentive Lothar Matthäus would allow Romanian midfielder László Bölöni to find space in front of the penalty area, with his well-timed pass picked up by Marcel Coraş after Michael Klein had done an excellent job in drawing the German defenders. Unchallenged, Coraş made his way into the penalty area before stroking a right-footed shot that skidded past Toni Schumacher to bring Lucescu’s side level.
After what had been a dominant first half where the opposition had largely been limited to long-range pot-shots, Romania’s equaliser could very easily have derailed Jupp Derwall’s side, but after allowing themselves to recuperate they quickly rediscovered their rhythm. Lung was quick to take the ball at Allofs’ feet after a strong run from Briegel, and a Meier shot from the edge of the box was comfortably held by the Romanian ‘keeper.
As the game approached the hour mark the German midfield had once again reestablished their dominance, and were quick to pressure their opponents whenever they were on the ball. Rummenigge, Allofs and Völler were starting to find more space, while sweeper Uli Stielike had started to make a number of runs down the centre.
However just as it looked as though the Germans has started to assert themselves, out of nowhere came a rare forward move from the Romanians. With has back to goal some thirty-five yards out, goalscorer Coraş rolled the ball back to Klein, who dinked a delicate first-time ball into the German box. Having turned and made his way into the German penalty area, Coraş chested the ball down brilliantly and had his shot brilliantly slapped away by Schumacher – who up to that point has been a virtual spectator.
Knowing that a draw would leave them on a precarious two points from two games, Derwall’s side would continue to press forward. Meier was replaced by Pierre Littbarski, who was almost immediately into the action as he picked the ball up on the left flank to find Klaus Allofs. With the Romanian defenders hanging back and refusing to commit themselves to the tackle, Allofs was allowed to switch back and forth outside the penalty area before dinking the ball towards Rummenigge who was lurking just inside the box. A neat first-time touch from the skipper presented Völler with a clear sight on goal, and after steadying himself the Werder Bremen striker tapped a firm right-footed shot into the low right-hand corner of the net with Lung left completely stranded.
Having regained the lead the Mannschaft continued to threaten the Romanian goal. Littbarski was wide of the target after some intelligent approach play by Völler, Rummenigge was even closer after a terrific burst down the right flank, and Allofs’ left-footed effort from a tight angle was brilliantly tipped over the crossbar by Lung.
Guido Buchwald would come on for Karl-Heinz Förster with ten minutes remaining as the Germans set about running down the clock, and although a well-struck long-range effort from Bölöni forced Schumacher into a fine reaction save as the Romanians threatened to draw level for the second time in the match, the Mannschaft held firm to claim the win and a valuable two points.
After Portugal and Spain played out a 1-1 draw later that evening, the Mannschaft would be left sitting at the top of their group table with three points from their two games, one ahead of both of their Iberian rivals. To progress to the semi-finals, they would only need a draw against the Spaniards in their final match.
Germany: Schumacher – B. Förster, Stielike, Kh. Förster (80. Buchwald), Briegel – Matthäus, N. Meier (65. Littbarski), Brehme – Kh. Rummenigge (c), Völler, K. Allofs
Romania: Lung – Rednic, Ştefănescu, Andone, Ungureanu – Coraş, Klein, Bölöni, Hagi (46. Zare), Dragnea (62. Ţicleanu) – Cămătaru
Referee: Jan Keizer (Netherlands)
Assistants: not known
Yellow Cards: Stielike / Ştefănescu
Red Cards: – / –