Kiev (dpa) – Joachim Löw was in the national stadium of Kiev after the final whistle and initially looked relieved. With the comeback of the first line-up for the Bayern block, the national coach was finally able to celebrate the first victory in the Nations League with the German national soccer team.
At the end of the somewhat shaky 2: 1 (1: 0) against Ukraine in the corona risk area Kiev, defensive player Matthias Ginter (20th minute) and Leon Goretzka (49th), who benefited from a blatant goalkeeping mistake, scored their goals in front of 17,573 spectators Löw’s match winner.
“I’m initially satisfied that we won,” said Löw on ARD: “We could have led 3-0 or 4-0 before we conceded.” Ginter from Gladbach also said “that’s how it works” about an appearance that the 2014 world champion analyzed well: “We also know that we didn’t play the stars from the sky.” But Ginter also emphasized: “Only victories will help us on our way.”
After Ruslan Malinowski (76.) scored a penalty, there was again the risk of losing a lead in the fourth international match after the Corona break against a severely weakened opponent. “We could have decided the game earlier,” said the personally hapless attacker Serge Gnabry, commenting on the exploitation of opportunities. With the mandatory victory, the DFB selection with four points from games kept the chance to continue fighting for group victory in the Nations League with leaders Spain (7). On Tuesday evening (8.45 p.m.) the next game against Switzerland is on the program in Cologne.
“It’s a day where you have to deliver,” said ex-national player Bastian Schweinsteiger in his role as an ARD expert before kick-off. Löw created the personnel requirements for this. The national coach changed the starting eleven to nine positions compared to the 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 as captain for the first time in eleven months. The return of the five Munich winners and also the two Leipzig wingers Lukas Klostermann and Marcel Halstenberg had an overall positive effect.
Niklas Süle structured the defense, but owed the penalty against center forward Roman Yaremchuk with a clumsy tackle. “The penalty was unnecessary,” complained Löw of Süle’s action. The Munich only had to accompany the opponent. With the goal conceded, the DFB team got into trouble again.
Joshua Kimmich, in particular, brought security to the German game as a central figure in midfield. Goretzka’s dynamic was also good – and Gnabry was very present at the front. What he lacked this time was the usual precision in the end. The audience loudly supported the home team, which 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 missing in Corona times.
The beginning was tough, but after the first goal, Löw’s A-formation controlled the action on the bumpy grass for a long time. There were two defenders who took the lead after a corner. After energetic preparatory work by Rüdiger in the penalty area, the Gladbach Ginter spiked the ball with his toe into the net.
The DFB selection could have added up to the break. But substitute goalkeeper Georgi Buschtschan saved twice brilliantly with a long-range shot from Kimmich (31st) and a diving header from Gnabry (35th). The 26-year-old Dynamo goalkeeper went from rescuer to loser in his second international match shortly after the break. He let a harmless flank of Lukas Klostermann from Leipzig slide out of his hands onto the head of Goretzka, who accepted the gift.
The Ukrainians were now marked by the failures and destruction against the French. But they never gave up. The guests could largely control the game before the night flight home. Loew missed the ultimate consequence in the exploitation of the goal chances. The agile Draxler should have increased it to 3: 0 after fine preparatory work by Gnabry, but shot the goalkeeper (51.). One of the few switching actions by the Ukrainians resulted in the penalty. Gnabry could have stopped the tremors earlier if another great chance was lost. He failed because of the unlucky Buschtschan (82nd).