Germany won their first-ever game in the UEFA Nations League in their seventh attempt, with a 2-1 win over Ukraine in Kyiv.
Matthias Ginter opened the scoring for Germany in the first-half, as he turned in a low pass from Antonio Rudiger, after Ukraine failed to clear a corner properly.
Heorhiy Bushchan, the Ukrainian goalkeeper, was unfortunate to concede the second goal of the night, as he was nudged by his own team-mate, while trying to catch a Lukas Klostermann cross. The nudge meant he dropped the ball straight onto the head of Leon Gortezka, who doubled Die Mannschaft‘s lead.
With 15 minutes to go, Niklas Sule dived in recklessly to bring Roman Yaremchuk down inside the box, and Ruslan Malinovskiy converted the resulting penalty with aplomb.
The Germans would have been jittery, having twice lost leads late in games in the last month, but eventually held on for their first win.
Germany Player Ratings
Manuel Neuer – 6/10
Neuer only had two saves to make from open-play in the game. One was a shot from Viktor Tsyhankov, and the other an effort from distance by Marlos. Both were easy catches for Neuer, as neither Tsyhankov nor Marlos struck the ball cleanly. He had no chance of stopping Malinovskiy’s penalty though.
Matthias Ginter – 7/10
Ginter gave Germany the lead with a neat finish at the back-post midway through the first-half. The Borussia Moenchengladbach man, though, was not exactly the most comfortable at the back, with Yaremchuk and Tsyhankov, and later Oleksandr Zubkov, able to exploit the space on the left flank.
Niklas Sule – 5/10
In general, Sule defended well against Yaremchuk, but that momentary lapse could, on another day, have derailed Germany’s push for a win. There was no need for the slide tackle in that situation from Sule. So he will be relieved that the penalty he conceded didn’t end up affecting the final result of the game.
Antonio Rudiger – 8/10
Rudiger was Germany’s best defender on the night. That was important because he was dealing with Ukraine’s principle attacking threat in Andriy Yarmolenko. Rudiger ensured that the Ukraine captain didn’t have anywhere to go when he cut in on to his preferred left foot.
Lukas Klostermann – 7/10
He could have scored early in the second-half, but was denied by an excellent save from Bushchan in the Ukraine goal. He was always an attacking outlet for Germany, with his starting position high and wide on the right flank. He had a bit of a tough time defending against the likes of Viktor Kovalenko though.
Joshua Kimmich – 6/10
At the heart of midfield for Germany, Kimmich did not have the most influential performance. The fact that Ukraine were able to pass the ball through the German midfield time and again must have been a matter of huge concern for Joachim Loew.
Toni Kroos – 5/10
Kroos had a pretty tough time of it in this game. He was the target of the Ukraine press throughout the game, and he was vulnerable, not being able to deal with the energy at times. Kroos was also lucky early in the first-half to not concede a goal, when his back-pass was somehow dealt with by Neuer.
Marcel Halstenberg – 6/10
Halstenberg was Germany’s most potent attacking force in the first-half. He got forward at will, and put some testing crosses into the area, which Ukraine defended well. The RB Leipzig man didn’t quit have enough of a say in the second half, though.
Leon Goretzka – 8/10
Goretzka doubled Germany’s lead on the night, and was terrific in midfield. With Kroos not quite exerting enough influence on the game, Goretzka dropped deep often enough to allow Germany more numbers in midfield,
Serge Gnabry – 7/10
Gnabry had a very good game in the Germany attack, and was only thwarted by the excellence of Bushchan in goal. In the first half, his diving header drew a great save off the Ukrainian keeper, while he had a powerful left-footed shot after the break thwarted by the custodian.
Julian Draxler – 6/10
Draxler had flashes of excellence in this game, but he couldn’t manage to put together a sustained spell of pressure on the Ukrainian defenders. He was replaced by Timo Werner with ten minutes to go in the game.
Timo Werner – 6/10
He had only ten minutes of action, but set up a great chance for Gnabry, who was denied by Bushchan.
Emre Can – N/A
Emre Can came on as a substitute in the first minute of second-half stoppage time, when he replaced Klostermann.
Kai Havertz – N/A
He replaced Serge Gnabry midway through the four additional second-half minutes.
Published 11 Oct 2020, 02:16 IST