Kiev (dpa) – With the comeback of the first line-up for the Bayern block, Joachim Löw was able to celebrate the first victory in the Nations League with the German national football team.
At the end of the shaky 2: 1 (1: 0) against Ukraine in the corona risk area of Kiev, defender Matthias Ginter (20th minute) and Leon Goretzka (49th), who took advantage of a glaring goalkeeper error, scored their goals in front of 17,573 spectators Löw’s competition winner. “That’s okay,” Ginter from Gladbach said of a performance he analyzed well: “We also know we weren’t playing against the stars. Only wins will get us going.”
After Ruslan Malinowski’s connection goal (76th) with a penalty kick, there was again the risk of losing a lead in the fourth international match after the Corona break against a greatly weakened opponent. “We could have decided the game earlier,” said the still unfortunate striker Serge Gnabry, commenting on the underutilisation of opportunities. With the mandatory win, the DFB squad with four points from games kept the chance to keep fighting for group victory in the Nations League with table leaders Spain (7). Tuesday evening (8.45 p.m.) the next game against Switzerland is scheduled in Cologne.
“It’s a day when you have to perform,” said ex-player Bastian Schweinsteiger in his role as ARD expert before kickoff. Löw has drawn up the personnel requirement for this. The national team manager changed the Starelf to nine positions from 3: 3 in the friendly against Turkey three days earlier in Cologne. Only Julian Draxler and Antonio Rüdiger were allowed to return to the starting line-up, which was led by Manuel Neuer for the first time in eleven months as captain. The return of the five winners from Munich and also the two Leipzig wingers Lukas Klostermann and Marcel Halstenberg had a positive effect overall.
Niklas Süle structured the defense, but owed the penalty against striker Roman Yaremchuk with a difficult tackle. As a result, the DFB team ran into unnecessary problems again. Joshua Kimmich in particular brought safety to the German game as the central figure in midfield. Goretzka’s dynamism was good too – and Gnabry was very present at the front. What missed him this time was the usual precision in the end.
The audience loudly supported the home team, who fought back three days after a 1: 7 in Paris against world champions France with six new players. The German players were also motivated by the football atmosphere in the stadium, which was so lacking in Corona times.
The start was tough, but after the first goal, Löw’s A-formation controlled the action on the bumpy grass for a long time. After a corner, it was two defenders who took the lead. After energetic preparatory work by Rüdiger in the penalty area, the Gladbach Ginter poked the ball with his toe in the net.
The DFB selection could have added up to the break. But substitute Georgi Buschtschan saved twice brilliantly with a long shot from Kimmich (31st) and a diving head from Gnabry (35th). The 26-year-old Dynamo goalkeeper went from savior to loser in his second international match shortly after the break. He let an innocent flank of Lukas Klostermann of Leipzig slip from his hands on the head of Goretzka, who accepted the gift.
The Ukrainians were now scarred by the failures and destruction against the French. But they never gave up. The guests were largely able to master the game before the night flight home. Loew missed the ultimate result in the exploitation of the scoring opportunities. The agile Draxler should have risen to 3: 0 after fine preparatory work by Gnabry, but shot the goalkeeper (51.). One of the few switchbacks by the Ukrainians led to the penalty. Gnabry could have stopped the tremors sooner if another great opportunity had been lost. He failed because of the unlucky Buschtschan (82nd).