Germany held by Ukraine in Euro warm-up


Germany were held to a 0-0 draw by Ukraine as the European Championship hosts lacked a cutting edge at a sold out Max-Morlock stadium in Nuremberg.

More than 44,000 fans were in jovial mood at kick-off, expecting a Germany that have rediscovered their form under Julian Nagelsmann put on a show less than two weeks before they start Euro 2024 against Scotland in Munich on June 14.

What Germany’s supporters got was something quite different, as Nagelsmann’s side dominated long periods and created many chances but failed to make the breakthrough against a resilient Ukraine.

“I had the impression that the team wanted to win and we played very well for long stretches,””Nagelsmann told German public broadcaster Das Erste.

“The first 20 minutes of the game were very, very good. We had to take the lead then.

“I think we need to be even more aggressive.

“We simply need to get more players into the box and put a bit more stress not their penalty area. The players we brought on didn’t need any time to get into the game, they all did well,” the 36-year-old added.

Germany came into this game having turned a corner under Nagelsmann, winning their last two games against France and the Netherlands with an aggressive, high tempo style and sparking optimism that, with home advantage, this European Championship could be a successful one.

Nagelsmann was without Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos and Antonio Ruediger, both rested after winning the Champions League final as well as Borussia Dortmund pair Nico Schlotterbeck and Niclas Fuellkrug.

Brighton midfielder Pascal Gross deputised for Kroosadmirably, pulling the strings alongside Bayer Leverkusen’s Robert Andrich, and Germany were relatively comfortable at the back, as Stuttgart’s Waldemar Anton enjoyed an assured full debut alongside Jonathan Tah.

It was rather in attack where Germany laboured, lacking a cutting edge – despite the impact of Nagelsmann’s subs.

Arsenal’s Kai Havertz was isolated at times and Bayer Leverkusen’s Florian Wirtz, whose every touch sent a buzz of excitement around the stadium, failed to get going before his withdrawal at half time.

Germany’s best first half chance fell to Ilkay Guendogan, who mistimed his jump as he attempted to meet a teasing cross by Gross.

The closest Germany came was on the hour, when Maximilian Beier, who had come off the bench a minute earlier, rattled the inside of the post with a first-time shot from Andrich’s perfect through ball.

Thomas Mueller, a second half substitute himself, praised the impact of the 21-year-old Hoffenheim forward who has been linked with a move to the Premier League.

“It was perfectly done by Maxi Beier,” Mueller said.

“You just need that little bit of luck but it came off the very corner of the post. I initially thought it was a goal and he would have deserved it.

“Not winning is not so great but, well, maybe it was a good lift for the tournament,” he added.

Beier shone in his cameo role as Germany peppered the Ukraine goal throughout the game but the visitors’ back line held firm in a fine demonstration of defence, led a string of top saves by goalkeeper Anatolii Trubin.

The Ukrainians, who qualified for their fourth straight Euro with a play-off victory over Iceland in March, will be buoyed by denying the tournament hosts on home soil as they look to come through a group that also includes Romania, Slovakia and Belgium.

While several aspects of the performance will have pleased Nagelsmann – the performances of Gross and Andrich and the impact of Beier and Deniz under off the bench – it was a result that poses some questions ahead of Germany’s final warm-up game against Greece in Moenchengladbach on June 7.

After opening the tournament against Scotland, Germany will face Hungary on June 19 and Switzerland four days later. 

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