Germany scraped past Ukraine in a narrow win to bag all the three points in their UEFA Nations League encounter. Despite grabbing the win, the visitors put in a lackluster performance. Matthias Ginter scored an easy tap-in as Antonio Rudiger created a goal out of nowhere for his side to open their account on the night.
The hosts were happy to sit back and absorb pressure until they conceded their first of the night. It was after Ginter's goal that Ukraine started forcing their way high up the pitch.
The hosts started the second half hoping to overturn the deficit but fell prey to a howler from George Buschan. The Ukrainian goalkeeper failed to keep hold of Lukas Klostermann's cross as he dropped it for Leon Goretzka to head in.
All looked done and dusted for the visitors before Roman Yaremchuk beat Niklas Sule with a burst of pace to draw a lunging tackle on him and earned his side a penalty. Ruslan Malinovsky made no mistake from the spot as he beat Manuel Neuer with conviction. The hosts tightened their grip on the game in search of an equalizer, but Germany were lucky enough to hold on for a win.
Here are the five major talking points from the match.
#1 Germany missed a target man
Joachim Low started with Serge Gnabry upfront leaving Timo Werner on the bench. Although Gnabry did a great job with the limited amount of service he had, he is not a natural striker. He lacks the natural instinct of a number 9.The Bayern Munich winger was isolated for most of the game and would have liked another player up front to team up with.
The midfielders and wing backs had no target man for whom they could overload the box with their crosses. There were various occasions where Germany had no player in the box to receive the balls.
#2 Toni Kroos and Joshua Kimmich had the midfield under their control
Toni Kroos is the engine of this Germany side. Everything passes through him. The sniper was not up to his usual best, but was still above the rest.
Kroos provided an option for all the attackers who saw no way through forward. The Real Madrid midfielder was exquisite in tight spaces as he opened up new avenues for his side from the limited space he had. Kroos completed 101 passes with an accuracy of 94%. Additionally, he made 7 recoveries and created 3 chances for his side.
Joshua Kimmich combined perfectly well with Kroos in the center of the park for Germany. He completed 116 passes with an accuracy of 97%. Moreover, he made 6 recoveries and won 2 tackles.