SIs there already a mood change? Ten minutes before the final whistle, wave after wave suddenly swept over the stands of the Mainz stadium, and the spectators clearly enjoyed this evening of football. Beautiful minutes certainly also for the German national team. However, nobody should have believed that it is possible to win back lost sympathies permanently. You could also say: One wave does not make a summer. Because the overall picture on Saturday evening also included the fact that the mood was mainly on the side of the opponent from Peru for a long time.
At least Hansi Flick’s team played their part in the project to win back the hearts of the audience, the 2-0 win was the result of a spirited performance before the break and then a little more economical performance by a team that first has to and wants to find itself . The first step has been taken, but after this first game after the great winter depression it is not yet possible to say how far the road is.
Flick and his team set out to put Qatar’s World Cup, which had failed in every respect, behind them. The visible sign was the black, red and gold captain’s armband that Joshua Kimmich wore on his arm, a self-imposed depoliticization after the trials and tribulations surrounding the One Love copy. The internationals had also verbally announced that from now on (again) victories were their mission and not signals or symbols of any kind. In this respect one could say on Saturday evening: Mission accomplished.
In one – desirable – respect, the Germans picked up exactly where they left off in Qatar. One person who jumped on the World Cup train at the last moment was primarily responsible for the risk of goals and goals. In Mainz, however, Niclas Füllkrug played with such a matter of course that he has become indispensable – including the thought game of what might have been possible in Qatar if Flick had already given him this role. The Bremen attacker scored goals four and five (12th and 33rd minutes) in his fifth international match.
Kimmich with Can in the engine room
As announced, Flick relied on a double lead against Peru, in addition to Füllkrug, Timo Werner, a completely different type of player, should pose a goal threat. Behind them, in the space between the creative possibilities, were Kai Havertz and Florian Wirtz. In the machine room, the national coach put Munich’s Joshua Kimmich alongside Dortmund’s Emre Can, a Bayern-Borussen block that will face each other again next weekend in the Bundesliga summit.
Flick also underlined the fact that he liked Dortmund’s angularity these weeks by helping Marius Wolf to make his debut on the right side of defense. It hadn’t been played much before Wolf and Can had already brought down an opponent quite resolutely.
Not perfection, but dedication
Even if Wolf was the only complete newcomer, the audience in Mainz saw a German team with a radically different profile in every respect. The national coach said before kick-off that he didn’t expect perfection, but passion. And what his players showed was committed – and quite inspired at the same time. Not in the sense that the Germans conjured up combinations on the Mainz lawn, but through a skilful game of displacement they repeatedly created spaces that proved to be quite interesting, often down the right side, where Wolf made a lot of steam.
Havertz was the free man in front of the opening goal, a long ball from Schlotterbeck reached him in the penalty area, where Havertz seemed a little unsure what to do, but Füllkrug was there and made the decision for him.
Werner tried hard, filling jug with flair
Keyword Füllkrug: It was a game with two strikers, but also one with two different striker stories. While Werner continued to write the one that was a little unfavorable for him – tried to find a keyword, but without luck – Füllkrug delivered a pleasant continuation. After 20 minutes it was almost more difficult for Wirtz and Werner not to put the ball in the goal from Wolf’s cross, even if Pedro Gallese made a great save. After a good half hour, Füllkrug showed how it’s done. Wolf crossed again, and Füllkrug was the man with the unmistakable sense of the moment, a touch in front of the offside line was enough for him to score.
2:0, that made for a good mood in the stands, which could have been even better if the Germans had had an encore up their sleeves before the break. There were opportunities for Werner, who clearly missed from an acute angle, and then for Füllkrug, whose shot was blocked by Advincula. Nevertheless: There was little to complain about in this first half, and the defence, in which Ginter and Raum defended alongside Wolf and Schlotterbeck, was largely solid, Marc-André ter Stegen didn’t get an opportunity to distinguish himself, but his passes in the build-up game made an impression .
After the break, Serge Gnabry, Mario Götze and Leon Goretzka replaced Werner, Wirtz and Can. This did not change anything in the structure of the German team, although the resilience seemed to be fading a little. There were still chances, such as Gnabry’s lateral pull on the crossbar after a pass from Kimmich (59th), or of course the penalty kick, which was due to a foul on Schlotterbeck, albeit only after the intervention of the video assistant.
However, Havertz put this opportunity on the right post, he was not authorized to make a follow-up shot (68th). For Havertz and Füllkrug the evening was over after 75 minutes, the debutants Kevin Schade and Mergim Berisha took the stage for them. The last good chance was then missed by Gnabry (82nd). While the audience was making waves, not much was happening on the lawn.
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