Cologne (dpa) – Bernd Leno, defeated for the third time in stoppage time, waved to the few fans in frustration – his colleagues sneaked angrily from the square. And national coach Joachim Löw was “eaten up”.
Exactly what had happened to the established forces several times before had happened to the young German national team, which was newly formed in many positions. Again, the DFB selection could not convert a lead into a victory. In the 3: 3 (1: 0) against Turkey in Cologne, the national team was even ahead three times.
“Again at the last minute, that’s why you are disappointed and pissed off now,” said Löw on RTL. “That is a problem that accompanies us.” Interim captain Julian Draxler (45th + 1), debutant Florian Neuhaus (58th) and Luca Waldschmidt (81st) had repeatedly brought the hosts into the lead. The Turkish captain Ozan Tufan (49th), Efecan Karaca (67th) and the Düsseldorf professional Kenan Karaman (90th + 4) secured the draw for the guests.
“We invited the Turks to score goals,” said Draxler. “It starts before that. If you lead 2-1, you have to play it more confidently. We didn’t make it, that’s disappointing.”
Without the entire Bayern block and other regular staff, the young German team had many good scenes. Chelsea professional Kai Havertz prepared two goals. But the biting guests punished negligence in defense. The first victory in 2020 should finally succeed against Switzerland at the upcoming Nations League games on Saturday in Ukraine and three days later in Cologne.
Löw directed his newly formed team in black turtlenecks from the sidelines. In the opposite stand sat the only 300 admitted fans who, with a few flags and a few chants, could hardly provide more than a ghost game atmosphere. Originally the DFB wanted to distribute 9,200 free tickets. But the development of the corona numbers in the region did not allow that. “Absolutely a shame,” said Löw before kick-off at RTL.
The national coach expected “no miracles” from his professionals – the DFB-Elf, led by Draxler as captain, showed high commitment at the beginning of the marathon week and improved in the second half. Even if the lack of common game practice was clearly visible after just one training session. Small mistakes in the offensive and in the coordination of the three-man chain of defense hindered the flow of the game almost as expected.
As in the two draws in Switzerland and against Spain at the start of the Nations League, Löw tried to push through his game idea with high pressure and a lot of creativity behind a single point. Waldschmidt as a striker failed twice in the first half against Turkish goalkeeper Mert Günok (6th / 41st), who was also there when Julian Brandt shot (25th).
Draxler met after a fine combination over Brandt and Chelsea’s 100 million man Havertz, who initially looked inhibited, but then decisively initiated the opening goal. Draxler celebrated his seventh goal in the 54th international match in front of empty ranks – his first in three years. Havertz also wisely initiated the second leading goal by the conspicuous debutante Neuhaus, the 108th newcomer in the Löw era. Almost ten minutes before the end, Waldschmidt made a strong left-foot shot for the third German goal.
Against two-strong Turks, Löw called the two full-backs Benjamin Henrichs and Nico Schulz, who hit the side netting in the 21st minute, again and again – but this led to problems in defense. The guests of coach Senol Günes, who started with six German-born players in the squad, kept up with high pressure and often uncovered the weak points of the DFB defense.
Yusuf Yazici came threateningly free to the shot, which he missed (13th), and then tested Bernd Leno with a long-range shot (19th). Tufan scored with a strong long-range shot shortly after the break to equalize. The 2: 2 by Karaca was preceded by a bump of the goalscorer against Neuhaus in the German penalty area, but the referee Benoit Bastien did not punish. Substitute Karaman hit the bar (87th).
“I can’t expect everything to work after a training session,” Löw had said as a precaution. For the games in the Nations League, the national coach wants to put together his 23-man squad from the 28 invited players on Thursday. Neuhaus recommended himself with his goal and considered play in midfield. His Mönchengladbach team-mate Jonas Hofmann made his debut after just under an hour, and Mahmoud Dahoud came on as the 110th Löw newcomer in the final phase.