Thomas Müller wonderstrike spares Germany′s blushes against Spain | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 23.03.2018
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Thomas Müller wonderstrike spares Germany's blushes against Spain

Thomas Müller's first half goal salvaged a result for the home side on a night on which both teams missed big chances. Jogi Löw's side will need some fine tuning before Germany's showdown with Brazil on Tuesday night.

Germany 1-1 Spain
(Müller 35' — Moreno 6')

When Thomas Müller collected Sami Khedira's pass on the edge of Spain's area in the 35th minute, the outcome looked inevitable. The Bavarian took a touch and unleashed a fierce strike into the top corner of David De Gea's net. It was a finish of the highest quality, but provided only a rare moment of precision on a night of wasteful finishing. 

This is why warm-up matches are so crucial before a World Cup.

With the exception of Manuel Neuer, who remains sidelined through injury, Löw named perhaps his strongest possible lineup for this encounter. His selections suggested he saw this match as a chance to test his side's mettle against the very best, as opposed to an opportunity for new faces to impress. Spain's coach, Julen Lopetegui, was in a similar frame of mind judging by his own selection.

Despite the quality on show, this was a cagey affair, particularly in the opening minutes, more typical of a World Cup semifinal than a pre-tournament friendly. Germany were caught flat-footed as Andres Iniesta played in Rodrigo in the sixth minute. The Brazilian-born forward made no mistake to give the visitors an early lead.

Spain reverted to vintage tiki-taka mode. Iniesta, David Silva and Isco drew Germany's defenders into tight spaces before vanishing into thin air. But the home side broke at speed — through the tireless Timo Werner — whenever the ball was recovered. Dani Carvajal's tendency to push forward during the first half gave Jonas Hector and Julian Draxler acres of space to run into down the left flank, but the killer pass was too often lacking. 

Fußball Länderspiel Deutschland - Spanien (picture-alliance/dpa/I. Fassbender)

Thomas Müller celebrates his first half equalizer

Müller's goal was the evening's final act of clinical finishing. Spain overplayed the ball on the edge of their own area, presenting Germany with a chance to counter. Hector combined with Toni Kroos on the left, who in turn found Khedira. The captain picked out Müller, who did the rest.

Second half changes handed opportunities to the likes of Ilkay Gündogan and Leroy Sane, both of whom have enjoyed phenomenal seasons as part of pep Guardiola's multi-talented Manchester City side, and Mario Gomez, who replaced Werner. Gündogan will rue his missed opportunity shortly after coming on. The midfielder collected  a Draxler pass on the edge of Spain's box, but his effort lacked power and De Gea was able to paw it away.  

A draw was a fair result for two sides who looked dangerous in flashes but lacked the killer instinct to ever really hurt one another. Brazil, on Tuesday night, should provide the perfect opportunity for more fine tuning for Germany. 

+++ As it happened +++

FULL TIME - Germany draw 1-1 with Spain thanks to Thomas Müller's first half equalizer. And end to end affair. Very entertaining.

84' The excellent Timo Werner is replaced by Mario Gomez. 

81' Leon Goretzka comes on for Thomas Müller, whose wondergoal drew Germany level in the first half. 

79' As has so often been the case in this game, Germany then head up the other end and almost score themselves. Timo Werner bursts past Jordi Alba but his cut-back doesn't find anyone, teammate or otherwise.

76' Germany were let off the hook massively, there. Jonas Hector's attempted clearance is blocked and the ball ricochets into the feet of a totally unmarked Diego Costa, just yards from Ter Stegen's goal. He has time to pick his spot but dawdles a little too long and allows Jerome Boateng to block. 

68' Löw summons Leroy Sane from the bench. The wonderkid replaces Julian Draxler. What a player to bring on against tiring legs

65' Be very afraid! Diega Costa's coming on, ladies and gentleman. He replaces Rodrigo - Brazilian for Brazilian, then. Just before the change is made, Mats Hümmels nods over from a freekick. 

64' Werner slips in behind the Spain defence again but his weak shot only finds the side netting. 

57' End to end stuff again. Ter Stegen saves an Isco strike from close range and Germany race up the other end at blistering speed. Werner is picked out, this time on the right hand side, but his cross is poor. Müller gets to the clearance first and nods down to Draxler. The PSG man finds Gündogan on the edge of the area, but his well-placed shot is pawed away from De Gea. Excellent from both keepers. 

54' Spain work the ball beautifully around the Germany penalty area before Jordi Alba takes an unecessary touch and fires the ball into Joshua Kimmich. He really should have hit that first time. 

53' Ilkay Gündogan comes on to replace Sami Khedira. Thomas Müller takes the armband. 

50' The right-hand side of Spain's defence has been floundering all match and Germany attack it once again. Werner has acres of space. He draws Ramos before picking out Draxler in the penalty area. He has time and should do better but only manages to scuff a shot into De Gea's clutches.

47' Timo Werner picks up where he left off and makes a nuisance of himself early on. He collects the ball just inside Spain's half and burns Ramos before forcing a corner. It's taken short and worked to Draxler, who unleashes a furious shot towards De Gea's goal from the edge of the area. The goalkeeper pulls off a sublime one-handed save to deny the PSG winger. Germany have come flying out of the traps.

45' Things get underway again in Düsseldorf. 

HALF TIME - What an opening 45 that was. The quality has been lacking at times but both sides are up for this. Spain are playing some vintage tiki-taka football, especially when they can get near the the home side's penalty area. Germany, on the other hand, are looking to slip Werner in behind, especially down the left-hand side, whenever opportunity presents itself, which is often. It's on a knife-edge going into the second half.

44' Draxler finds space on the left and goes one on one with Ramos, but the Spain captain reads him like a book and bullies him off the ball. Excellent defending. That left flank is proving fortuitous for Germany. 

35' GOAL! Germany equalize and it's an absolute cracker! Spain are caught overplaying in their own half and Germany make them pay. Hector and Kroos combine on the left wing, before the Real Madrid man picks out Khedira on the edge of the area. He shuffles the ball inside to Thomas Müller, who strokes it into the top corner nonchalantly. That was an awesome finish!

30' This is end to end stuff. Timo Werner storms past Carvajal and cuts a dangerous cross back across the face of goal but it goes right the way through. Spain race up the other end and almost score themselves. More tika-taka but this time on the break and at speed. Iniesta fires a shot over Ter Stegen's bar after Germany scramble a low Rodrigo cross away. 

26' Brilliant. Tika-taka at its very best, there. Iniesta, Isco and Thiago toy with Germany's defenders in the tighest of spaces on the edge of their area. The crowd "ooh" and "ahh" throughout. It almost comes to something, too, but Iniesta turns into Mats Hummels in the box and German are able to clear.  

22' Germany go close! Sami Khedira slips a perfectly weighted pass between Carvajal and Ramos and into the path of a speeding Timo Werner. The RB Leipzig striker narrowly places his shot wide but it's called back for offside. Better from Germany.

17' Stunning piece of skill from Isco, who rises above Jonas Hector and keeps the ball in with his chest. He races towards the Germany penalty area and plays in David Silva, who should score. Ter Stegen was quick to gather following a rare heavy touch. 

12' Spain begin to establish control in the midfield. Isco, Thiago and Iniesta are dovetailing sumptuously in midfield and Germany are chasing shadows.

09' Germany almost pin Spain back immediately. Timo Werner was straining to reach a Joshua Mimmich cross but couldn't quite get there. It falls to Julian Draxler who cannons a shot into a Spain defender. Great reaction from Löw's boys.

06' GOAL! Spain take an early lead through Rodrigo after a defence-splitting pass from the little maestro Andres Iniesta. Germany were caught napping there, and Jogi Löw looks like he's chewed a wasp on the Germany bench. 

01' And we are off! Germany are sporting their brand new, old school, retro green jerseys. Spain in their classic red, with blue shorts.

The teams are out and, just before the national anthems begin, Joshua Kimmich recieves an award for Germany Player of the Year. Well deserved too, he's been sensational over the past twelve months. Spain go first before Khedira leads the German tune. Düsseldorf Stadium is looking stunning this evening, by the way; absolutely packed to the rafters!

Germany and Spain aren't the only big guns in action tonight. England, Argentina, France and reigning European champions Portugal are all playing too. Brazil defeated Russia 3-0 earlier on this evening thanks to goals from Miranda, Coutinho and Paulinho.

15 mins to go - Cap number 90 for the Raumdeuter!

Germany XI - Jogi Löw names arguably his strongest side to face Spain and why not? The World Cup is almost upon us and it's time to get the players gelling. Manuel Neuer, still not up to full speed after breaking his foot at the end of last year, is not in the squad so Marc Andre Ter Stegen is between the sticks. The back line is about as fierce as it gets and, ahead of Toni Kroos and captain Sami Khedira, Mesut Özil is taksed with making things tick. Timo Werner leads the line with Julian Draxler and Thomas Müller on the flanks. 

Spain XI - The visitors clearly got the memo, as Julen Lopetegui names a world class side. The imperious David De Gea will be more than pleased with the calibre of his defenders and only Sergio Busquets is missing from an otherwise full-strength midfield. Valencia's Rodrigo is perhaps the only surprise inclusion. He starts up top. He's managed 13 in 24 starts this season, so he knows where the goal is. Who's excited?

 

 

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