Having kicked off their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 3-0 win in Oslo in Norway, Germany are at home to play the Czech Republic – the first of two home games in the space of four days. Confidence should be high against an unfamiliar looking Czech team with a number of new faces. From the look of the lineup, one might think that the Karel Jarolím’s team have given up on this game completely – or have something else up their sleeves.
It is a pleasant evening at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg, and Nationaltrainer Jogi Löw is looking as dapper as usual in a black outfit and matching scarf.
The is only one change from last month’s starting eleven, with Jérôme Boateng coming in for Benedikt Höwedes who is on the bench. Boateng joins FC Bayern München team mate Mats Hummels in the middle of the German defence for the first time this season; interestingly, they have not paired up for their club since Hummels’ return to Munich in the summer.
There is only one player over thirty years of age in this German team, goalkeeper and captain Manuel Neuer.
1 min. The Czechs, all in red, get things underway. Germany meanwhile are back in their traditional colours of white shirts and black shorts, teamed with black socks.
2 mins. The home side are into their stride immediately. Toni Kroos tries to find Joshua Kimmich with a long ball out to the right, but the Bayern youngster is unable to reach it.
6 mins. There is only one team in it at the moment. Another German attack, some desperate defending from the visitors, and Jonas Hector is fouled just outside the penalty area.
7 mins. Kroos takes the free-kick, but it is fired straight at the a red-shirted defender.
10 mins. Kroos has the first shot on goal from outside the box, but it floats high and wide of the target.
12 mins. Another incisive move through the middle from the Mannschaft, but Thomas Müller is a yard offside.
13 mins. It was coming. The men in white break at pace down the left, and the ball is with Mario Götze. A low cross is well left by Mesut Özil, and Thomas Müller calmly strokes it home with the aid of a slight deflection. There’s no chance for Czech ‘keeper Tomáš Vaclík, and Germany are in front. 1-0.
Thomas Müller opens the scoring after twelve minutes, his 35th goal for the Nationalmannschaft
17 mins. Czech fullback Pavel Kadeřábek brings down Müller with a clumsy challenge, and is lucky to get away without a booking.
19 mins. Kadeřábek fails to heed the referee’s warning, and grabs a bid piece of Julian Draxler’s shirt. This time he is booked.
21 mins. Half chance for the Czechs as Kimmich mistimes a clearance, but two red shirts can only watch the ball float between them.
22 mins. A lovely, long cross-field pass from Boateng is collected by Götze, who in turn finds Draxler. The Wolfsburg man makes space for himself and gets in a decent effort which flies narrowly wide of the far post.
25 mins. Another long ball from Boateng, a poor Czech clearance, and that man Müller is on target with a calm right-footed shot. Vaclík gets down well to turn it around the post. Nothing comes from the resulting corner.
28 mins. Hummels almost gifts a red shirt with an opening, but recovers his composure to find a team mate.
29 mins. A lovely ball over the Czech defence from Hummels finds Götze, but the flag goes up for offside. That looked about level to me, and the replay shows that Götze was fairly positioned.
30 mins. Götze plays a lovely one-two with Müller, and can only dink the ball wide of the target as Vaclík closes him down. So close again to goal number two – another fantastic move from Löw’s side.
32 mins. Another offside flag, this time against Kimmich. The fullback had cut the ball from the byline to Sami Khedira who was waiting to complete the tap in on the goal line, but this time the decision looks correct from the Romanian official.
36 mins. The Mannschaft are running rings around the opponents, and the only thing missing is a second goal. One could say that this game should have been put to bed already.
38 mins. And again. Another Boateng ball, this time out on the right to Kimmich, who smartly nods it inside to Götze. Götze runs to the byline and ghosts past his marker before sending a low cross to Draxler into the box. Draxler is well marked and cannot get a shot in, so rolls it back to Müller. Der Raumdeuter has enough time to pick his spot, but his left-footed effort is too high and flies over the target.
40 mins. The second goal has to come, surely. Germany have been briliant, the Czechs have been comprehensively outplayed, but the score is still 1-0.
44 mins. Kimmich has an audacious effort, and Vaclík has to get a hand to it.
45 mins. The whistle blows for half-time. Thomas Müller has his 35th goal for the Mannschaft, putting him just two behind Oliver Bierhoff. Germany have completely dominated the half, and could very easily have been three or more in front. There was one suspect offside decision, but yet again there has been a lack of punch in the final third.
At the other end, skipper Manuel Neuer might well as well have slung a hammock between the posts. There will surely be more chances, and Jogi’s Jungs will be looking at killing things off quickly in the second half.
46 mins. Germany start the second half. Already, it looks like the Czechs are looking for damage limitation.
47 mins. The first attack for the men in white. Özil sends a long ball into the box for Draxler to chase, but Vaclík gets there first. Just.
49 mins. Even stuffing every man behind the ball won’t stop the surgical approach. This time the move is executed to perfection. Kimmich has been a revelation in the Nationaltrikot, and the youngster keeps his head, taking his time to make space on the right as the Czech defenders sit back. He rolls the ball inside towards the D, and Kroos sends a low, curling right-footed shot into the bottom of the net past the Vaclík’s outstretched left hand. I could put that on a loop… That was a thing of beauty. 2-0.
Toni Kroos celebrates his goal four minutes into the second half, as Germany take a 2-0 lead
53 mins. Germany look to slice open the Czech defence with every move, and Götze is flagged offside twice in as many minutes.
54 mins. David Pavelka brings down Kroos, and is shown the yellow card.
57 mins. Pavelka’s wayward pass is collected by Draxler, who finds Özil out to his left. The Arsenal man looks to shoot, but a defender slides in to save the day for the visitors. Draxler meanwhile had taken a knock, and walks off for some treatment on the touchline.
60 mins. Germany are back to eleven men as Draxler returns.
62 mins. The first change for the Czechs. Lukáš Droppa is on for Pavelka.
63 mins. Neuer has had nothing to do all game, but out of nowhere Bořek Dočkal tests the German keeper with a well-struck effort. Neuer is alert to it, and palms the ball away with his usual nonchalance.
65 mins. That is more like it. Great movement from Özil and Hector, who drills in a low cross in towards the six-yard box. Müller is at his Raumdeutering best, getting in front of the Czech skipper Marek Suchý to sweep the ball with his left foot past the helpless Vaclík. 3-0.
The finisher and the creator. Müller celebrates his second goal with Jonas Hector
68 mins. The first change for Germany, as Hector makes way for Benedikt Höwedes.
69 mins. There’s another Czech change, with Jiří Skalák replacing Milan Petržela.
76 mins. Kroos makes his way to the touchline after another excellent show. İlkay Gündoğan is on. The Czechs make their final substitution, with Vacláv Kadlec replaces Matěj Vydra.
77 mins. Dočkal has an another shot at the German goal, and his effort skids just wide. Neuer had it covered though.
80 mins. The final switch of the night for the Mannschaft, as Julian Brandt comes on for Draxler.
82 mins. Another attack, and a moment of Müller magic that doesn’t quite come off. Boateng swings the ball into the Czech box, and Müller’s overhead kick is blocked by Vaclík.
83 mins. It is wave after wave now. This time Vaclík produces a brilliant save to deny Kimmich, who gets on the end of a lovely cross from Höwedes.
86 mins. Germany are playing keep-ball now, and the crowd can go home happy after what has been a dominant performance from the world champions.
90 mins. Gündoğan dinks a delicious ball into the opposition penalty area, and Höwedes is the furthest forward as he beats the offside trap. The Schalke man controls the ball nicely and looks set to pull the trigger, but Vaclík is there again to deny him. There will be three minutes of stoppage time.
90+2 mins. Kadeřábek has clear sight of goal, and his header is deflected behind for a corner.
90+3 mins. The ball is in the back of the German net, but it is not going to count. The offside flag is raised. It looks like a slightly dodgy decision, but it is fair to say that a 3-1 finish would have flattered the Czechs. The final whistle blows.
Germany could have finished this game by half time, but this was a walk in the Volksparkstadion against a poor Czech team. Three excellent goals, and a great team performance by a team that looks as hungry as it is talented. With six points safely in the bag, the team will surely look to repeat the performance against Northern Ireland in their next match. If they can up their conversion rate, we could see something really special.
v Czech Republic, Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, 08.10.2016
Müller 13., 65., Kroos 49. / –
Germany: Neuer (c) – Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Hector (68. Höwedes) – Khedira, Kroos (76. Gündoğan) – Müller, Özil, Draxler (80. Brandt) – Götze
Czech Republic: Vaclík – Kadeřábek, Sivok, Suchý (c), Novák – Hořava, Pavelka (63. Droppa) – Petržela (69. Skalak), Dočkal, Krejčí – Vydra (76. Kadlec)
Referee: Ovidiu Hațegan (Romania)
Assistants: Octavian Sovre, Sebastian Gheorghe (Romania)
Fourth Official: Radu Petrescu (Romania)
Referee Observer: Jean Lemmer (Luxembourg)
Yellow Cards: – / Kadeřábek, Pavelka
Red Cards: – / –
Ball Possession: 66% / 34%
Attempts on Target: 10 / 2
Attempts off Target: 6 / 5
Corners: 8 / 6
Fouls Committed: 8 / 13