Super joker Thomas Müller redeemed the German national team and saved it from the first setback under national coach Hansi Flick.
The substitute striker from Bayern Munich met in the long difficult qualifying home game in Hamburg against Romania to the late 2-1 (0-1) and opened the door to the World Cup in Qatar wide. With the hard-fought fourth victory in a row, Flick’s start record from predecessor Joachim Löw (5 wins) is within reach.
“The earlier we qualify, the better. That was a big step today. Now we want to make it clear on Monday,” said Serge Gnabry, who had made it 1-1 in the meantime (52nd).
“The team fought, never gave up and played with confidence,” said national coach Flick: “In the end, it is more than deserved, we determined the game for a long time.”
Even Müller, who scored late to 2-1 (81st) and thus prevented the first setback under Flick, spoke of a “very committed game” and praised the Hamburg audience: “Although we were 0-1 behind, the performance was honored, and when the 2-1 fell, it was a small explosion. You could feel the connection, we really enjoyed it on the field. “
In front of 25,000 spectators in the sold-out Volkspark, Ianis Hagi, the son of Romania’s football icon Gheorghe Hagi, scored the 0: 1 in the 9th minute and thus conceded the first goal in the Flick era. Serge Gnabry (52nd) scored 1: 1 with his 20th international goal before Müller made his big appearance.
In the next qualifying game next Monday (8:45 p.m. / RTL) in North Macedonia, Germany could book the ticket for the 2022 World Cup ahead of time. However, the DFB selection had embarrassed themselves in the 1: 2 first leg defeat last March.
Flick had to do without his captain Manuel Neuer at short notice, the goalkeeper of Bayern Munich was out due to adductor problems. This gave the eternal challenger Marc-André ter Stegen an unexpected chance – but the first shot on his goal he was beaten immediately. When Hagi scored, the FC Barcelona professional was powerless, Thilo Kehrer and Antonio Rüdiger were more to blame for being unable to stop the Romanian goalscorer while dribbling.
Just before that, Joshua Kimmich, who wore the captain’s armband for the injured Neuer, was ready to take a penalty kick. But referee Cüneyt Cakir revised his penalty decision based on the video images. Timo Werner went down after a brief contact on the foot against Andrei Burca.
The hectic initial phase seemed to be carried over to the German team, which afforded a few bad passes and lack of concentration. The Romanians, whom Flick had previously warned against (“They want to play football”), were dangerous at the beginning despite their defensive 5-4-1 orientation. The fast switching game and the direct pull to the goal posed some problems for the DFB defense.
Gnabry and Reus leave chances behind
The Flick team tried their best on the offensive, but initially lacked the determination and also the luck to crack the opponent’s defensive block. Serge Gnabry (17th, 35th and 44th) and Marco Reus (33rd), who had been preferred to Müller in the starting line-up, gave good scoring chances in the first half. Werner, who scored under Flick in the first three games, acted unhappy overall.
After the break, the German players came out of the cabin with a lot of momentum, the quick equalizer by Gnabry from a long shot gave the team additional self-confidence. The Romanians were pushed deeper and deeper into their own half and had more and more trouble to stop the hosts’ quick attacks. The lead then brought a corner kick, Müller was right on the second post.
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