Germany Disappoints in Centennial Match against Ukraine

news 13-Jun-2023 Sport

In its 1000th international match, the German national football team had to settle for a fortunate draw against Ukraine and once again revealed defensive weaknesses.

In a sold-out Weserstadion in Bremen, Viktor Tsygankov (18th/56th minute) and Antonio Rüdiger's own goal (23rd) scored for Ukraine while Niclas Füllkrug (6th), Kai Havertz (83rd), and Joshua Kimmich (90+1) through a penalty scored for Hansi Flick's team. With just one year remaining to the start of the home Euro cup, Flick still has a lot of work ahead of him. The draw means Germany has remained unbeaten in all nine matches with Ukraine.

"Two Stupid Goals" Says Kimmich

Flick and his players unanimously agreed that the concern was avoidable goals. "We made it too easy for the opponent to score goals," said Flick to Sportschau. "We are making too many simple mistakes," said Kimmich. And Antonio Rüdiger said: "We're giving away goals to the opponent."

DFB Donates Proceeds

The high symbolism of Germany playing Ukraine in the centennial match was due to the Russian invasion of the country. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Ukrainian Ambassador Oleksii Makeiev attended as guests of honor at the benefit match. The German Football Association, via its Foundation, is donating proceeds from the TV contract and ticket sales to people affected by the war.

Füllkrug Scores at Hometown Match

Kevin Trapp made his first appearance for Germany after 15 months. Flick trusted a back-three of Rüdiger, Matthias Ginter, and Nico Schlotterbeck in defense. Marius Wolf and David Raum played on the wings. Kimmich as captain and his Munich teammate Leon Goretzka were also in midfield, along with Leroy Sané and Julian Brandt. The two forwards weren't there in March's first games of the year. In attacking position, Füllkrug, the Werder Bremen man, was in his hometown.

And Füllkrug could have scored in just 90 seconds. Mykhaylo Mudryk played a back pass towards the goal right to the Bremen man, but he shot it completely unmarked on the right side of Anatoliy Trubin's goal. In the 6th minute, Wolf did better. After a Kimmich chip into the middle, the Dortmund player moved the ball beautifully and deflected Füllkrug's shot from close range.

Germany kept pushing. In the 11th minute, following a beautiful pass from Brandt, Raum hit only the outside of the net. "We dominated the game in the first 20 minutes, created many chances.

Ukraine only attempted its first offensive play after nearly 15 minutes. Taras Stepanenko missed a pass from Tsygankov on a free-kick by a narrow margin. The guests were encouraged, though, and they promptly equalized in the 18th minute. Tsygankov ended a lightning-quick counter with a shot into the far corner. Referee Anasthasios Sidiropoulos from Greece initially called it offside, but the video assistant corrected him.

Classic Counterattack

After the opening goal, the Flick-team lost their way. In the 24th minute, under high pressure from the opponent, Raum made a mistake in building the play, and then it was fast again. Schlotterbeck had a bad run duel with Oleksandr Tymchyk, Mudryk set his pass from the baseline back on the goal, and Rüdiger deflected it.

Germany reacted and pinned Ukraine in their half before the break. There was plenty of possession, but only a few half-chances emerged. Just before the break, almost 1-3: Andrey Yarmolenko, and Tymchyk caused chaos in the box, and the latter hit only the outside of the net. Shortly before halftime, a glimmer of hope for the Germans: Sané hit a free-kick from 18 meters on the crossbar.

Tsygankov Scores Through Ginter's Mistake

In the 56th minute, the budding hope after initially slow start into the second half was hurt. Ginter couldn't control a half-high pass from Brandt. Artem Dovbyk grabbed the ball, dribbled it across to Tsygankov, and he made no mistake.

This initially unplugged the German offensive effort. Nervousness spread, and the Bremen crowd became restless. Germany was anxious, fearing always to fall into the next counter-attack of Ukraine.

Havertz Turns the Table

In the 74th minute, the DFB team had a chance, but Rüdiger missed the ball from 14 meters after the Ukrainians had cleared it too close. Shortly after, Sané shot the ball low past the post from the left side.

The consolation goal from Havertz after a beautiful solo came out of nowhere. And it was Havertz who also won the penalty kick in injury time, which Kimmich used to score the flattering 3-3. One year before the Euro in their home ground, Germany is far from the expected form of a champion team. The team has once again revealed huge flaws, the experiment with a back-three and a double-striker failed and was canceled. Fundamental things were missing, particularly physicality, passing accuracy, and concentration – but at least, the morale was there.

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