The season is not quite over for the Mannschaft, but the last World Cup qualifier of 2016/17 takes place in Nürnberg where Joachim Löw’s young side take on group underdogs San Marino. With the big names all taking time out, we have what is effectively a competitive warm-up for the upcoming Confederations Cup in Russia.
There are a number of changes to the eleven that started against Denmark on Tuesday, and this looks more like the lineup that we will see in the Confederations Cup opener against Australia in just over a week’s time.
Marc-André ter Stegen replaces the Kevin Trapp in goal, and World Cup winner Shkodran Mustafi is also back. Emre Can makes a start after coming on as a second half substitute against Denmark on Tueday, as do Julian Brandt and Amin Younes. Niklas Süle, Antonio Rüdiger, Matthias Ginter and Sebastian Rudy are all on the bench.
It is a warm and bright evening in Franconia, and the two teams walk out for the national anthems. There are only two players who were in the side that beat the Sammarinese 8-0 in Serravalle: Jonas Hector and Joshua Kimmich. Interestingly, all eleven starters are from different clubs; I cannot remember the last time this happened.
The captain’s armband is again with Julian Draxler, who leads the team out for the third time, and for the first time in a competitive match.
1 min. Kitted out in blue shirts and white shorts, the visitors get things underway. Germany are again in their familiar white shirts and black shorts.
3 mins. The home side have already established a presence in the opposition half, and win a free-kick some twenty-five yards out on the left. Nobody has any idea what Draxler is trying though. That was poor.
5 mins. Another free-kick for the Mannschaft, this time in a slightly more dangerous position. Emre Can gets plenty of power behind his shot, but it flies harmlessly over the target.
8 mins. There’s plenty of possession and movement for the home side, and it clear already that this is going to be one-way traffic. San Marino look more than prepared to shut up shop already.
9 mins. The first half-chance of the match. The men in white move through the midfield and Leon Goretzka’s header is easily collected by ‘keeper Elia Benedettini. The Germans attack again, and after Draxler’s shot is blocked, Brandt fires over the crossbar.
11 mins. Lars Stindl sends a lovely pass into the San Marino box, and the men in blue look to have cleared the danger. They haven’t though, and the ball falls to Draxler who is free inside the box some seven yards from goal. The skipper has enough time to calmly send a curling right-footed shot into the bottom right-hand corner. Benedettini has no chance, and Germany are in front. 1-0.
14 mins. Goretzka sends in a cross, but it is too strong and Sandro Wagner cannot get there.
15 mins. Brandt wins a corner, but nothing comes of it.
16 mins. Kimmich has space down the right, and sends in a teasing cross into the penalty area. Wagner gets in front of Alessandro Delle Valle, and is able to hold the defender before guiding a superb header into the top right-hand corner. It is the Hoffenheim man’s first goal at international level. 2-0.
20 mins. Kimmich looks for Wagner again, but is is far too high and the striker has no chance of getting there.
23 mins. Germany are passing the ball around now, and their opponents cannot get a touch.
26 mins. Can has a shot from distance which is blocked.
27 mins. A lovely ball from Stindl is collected by Draxler who hares down towards the byline. The skipper plays a sharp ball back inside, but has taken it a bit too far. The Romanian referee signals for a goal kick.
28 mins. Younes makes a shift down the left, but cannot find a team mate with his cross.
29 mins. There’s another free-kick to Germany, and this time Kimmich dinks the ball into the box. The men in blue shirts are standing around like statues, and Younes collects the pass before squaring it inside. The alert Wagner is there to finish it off, and takes a touch before stabbing it home from six yards with his right foot. 3-0.
33 mins. Another corner for the hosts, and Hector’s outswinger floats over everybody.
36 mins. Another bitty foul from Della Valle, and another free-kick from the Mannschaft. The ball from Hector is inevitably floated into the box, but Goretzka’s header doesn’t test Benedettini.
38 mins. Brandt and Stindl combine nicely down the right, and Germany win another corner. Benedettini gets a hand to Kimmich’s outswinger, but only succeeds in pushing the ball against a team mate. The San Marino defence are all over the place, and Younes taps it in from three yards to get off the mark in international football. 4-0.
40 mins. Another chance. The ball falls to Wagner is is able to outpace his marker, and his right-footed effort from a tight angle crashes against the outside of the right post.
44 mins. San Marino have been completely outclassed here, and after more patient buildup Brandt has a shot which is blocked.
45 mins. Right on cue, the referee blows for half-time.
Nobody really expected much of a challenge from Pierangelo Manzaroli’s side, but this encounter has been really one-sided. Germany have dominated proceedings in every respect, will be looking to add a lot more to their four first-half goals. Will Sandro Wagner turn his brace into a hat-trick?
46 mins. The home side gets the second half rolling.
47 mins. There’s a corner almost immediately for Germany, and Kimmich’s ball into the box creates more chaos for the visitors. Mustafi shows plenty of physical presence to get a shot on goal, which takes the slightest of deflections to take it past Benedettini. The ‘keeper gets a hand to the ball, but cannot keep it out. 5-0.
50 mins. It is like a white wave, crashing against a blue shore. All of these German players are out to impress the coach, and there is going to be no mercy shown here.
54 mins. Brandt makes a burst down the right into the box, but there’s a good challenge. There’s no reward from the corner.
55 mins. There’s a double change for Germany, with Marvin Plattenhardt and Timo Werner coming on for Hector and Stindl.
56 mins. San Marino have been biting at German heels throughout the match so far, and Giovanni Bonini’s challenge on Werner is too much for the referee, who flashes the yellow card.
62 mins. Some lovely one-touch approach play from the Mannschaft now, with Draxler right in the middle of things. The skipper’s neat pass almost finds Younes, but the Ajax winger has the ball picked from his feet by Benedettini.
64 mins. There’s another booking for the visitors, this time for Michele Cervellini. Plattenhardt steps up to take the free kick, which is well wide.
66 mins. Can is sliced down by Pier Filippo Mazza, who joins his two team mates in the referee’s notebook as things get a little heated.
67 mins. Wagner towers above the opposition defence to send a header narrowly wide of the target, but the referee has already blown for a foul and a free kick to San Marino.
69 mins. The visitors make their first change, with Marco Bernardi replacing Mazza.
70 mins. The floodgates haven’t opened yet for the home side, and things have started to get a little scrappy.
71 mins. A quickly-taken corner is followed by a teasing cross, and Mustafi nods the ball across the face of goal. There is no German player to apply a finish though, and San Marino are able to clear their lines.
72 mins. Germany are awarded another free-kick, and Kimmich’s floated ball is superbly guided home by Brandt. The Leverkusen man’s header is perfectly placed, and Benedettini has no chance. 6-0.
74 mins. The crowd cheers as Werner looks to have scored Germany’s seventh, but the ball hits the post and takes a ricochet of the side support before rippling the back of the net.
76 mins. Time for a debut. Draxler hands the captain’s armband to Mustafi, and makes way for RB Leipzig’s Diego Demme.
77 mins. Can thunders down the left and makes his way to the byline, and cuts the ball back inside. Wagner is right there and looks all set to complete his hat-trick, but his effort with the outside of his right foot is sliced wide. That was a chance.
78 mins. A second substitution for San Marino. Front man Danilo Rinaldo is off, and Adolfo Hirsch is on.
80 mins. Cervellini slides in on Can, and is a little lucky to escape a second yellow card.
84 mins. Brandt makes a strong run down the right and cuts the ball inside to Werner, who goes down in the box. There are some shouts for a penalty, but the referee waves play on.
85 mins. The next white wave comes in, and it is Kimmich again with another killer cross. Wagner is there to meet it, and sends a neat glancing header past Benedettini. It’s number seven for Germany, and a fine hat-trick for Wagner. It is Kimmich’s fourth assist. 7-0.
87 mins. the final change of the evening for the visitors, as Christian Brolli replaces Davide Cesarini.
89 mins. Brandt turns his marker inside out and makes his way to the byline. Goretzka slides in to reach the cutback, but his shot slides wide.
90 mins. Werner sends a shot just wide of the target, but the offside flag is waved. There will be two minutes of additional time.
90+2 mins. Benedettini gets down well to push a Kimmich shot behind, and Germany have just enough time to take the corner. A short ball is played inside, and the final whistle blows.
A solid show by this young German team, against opposition that offered less than little. This could have gone into double figures, but it has been a professional display from Jogi Löw’s men. The highlight was a superb hat-trick for Sandro Wagner in his first competitive match, but Joshua Kimmich also impressed with a masterful all-round show which included four assists.
Germany move to a perfect six wins out of six in the group, with the competition picking up again after the summer break. Qualification is all but assured, and it is now time to look towards the Confederations Cup.
v San Marino, Stadion Nürnberg, Nürnberg, 10.06.2017
Draxler 11., Wagner 16., 29., 85., Younes 38., Mustafi 47, Brandt 72. / –
Germany: ter Stegen – Kimmich, Mustafi, Hector (55. Plattenhardt) – Can, Goretzka – Brandt, Draxler (c) (76. Demme*), Younes – Stindl (55. Werner), Wagner
San Marino: Benedettini – Bonini, Della Valle (c), Biordi, Cesarini (87. Brolli) – Cervellini – Mazza (69. Bernardi), Zafferani – Golinucci, Palazzi – Rinaldi (78. Hirsch)
Referee: Radu Marian Petrescu (Romania)
Assistants: Radu Adrian Ștefan Ghinguleac (Romania), Vladimir Urzică (Romania)
Fourth Official: Sebastian Constantin Colțescu (Romania)
Referee Observer: Nuno Alexandre Parreira de Castro (Portugal)
Yellow Cards: – / Bonini, Cervellini, Mazza
Red Cards: – / –
Ball Possession: 77% / 23%
Attempts on Target/Blocked: 17 / 0
Attempts off Target: 10 / 0
Corners: 10 / 0
Fouls Committed: 9 / 17
* Full international debut