Germany suffered a narrow defeat in the final friendly before the squad for this summer’s World Cup is announced in May. In a heavyweight friendly against Brazil at Berlin’s Olympiastadion, Die Mannschaft were edged 1-0 thanks to a first half goal from Gabriel Jesus. It was the first meeting between the two nations since the famous 7-1 win four years ago in Belo Horizonte. The defeat was also Germany's first in 22 matches since being beaten by France in the semi-finals of EURO 2016.
Gabriel Jesus scored the only goal of the game in front of a sell-out crowd of over 72,000 fans at Berlin’s Olympiastadion. Head coach Joachim Löw made seven changes to the team that drew 1-1 with Spain in Düsseldorf. Kevin Trapp, Antonio Rüdiger, Marvin Plattenhardt, Ilkay Gündogan, Leon Goretzka, Leroy Sané and Mario Gomez replaced Marc-André ter Stegen, Mats Hummels, Jonas Hector, Sami Khedira and Timo Werner in the starting XI. Thomas Müller and Mesut Özil were rested, having travelled home after the Spain draw.
Despite the absence of superstar Neymar, Selecao’s attack was filled with world-class talents from around Europe, with Willian (Chelsea), Paulinho (Barcelona), Fernandinho, Gabriel Jesus (both Manchester City) and Coutinho (Barcelona) all starting from the off.
Neither side were prepared to let up in the early stages, the Germans defended tightly and Brazil committed themselves to challenges and quick pressing. Germany began to take more and more control of the game after a quarter of an hour. A quick break saw Manchester City pair Gündogan and Sane link up before feeding Draxler. The PSG winger teed the ball up for Gündogan, but he couldn’t keep his shot down. Moments later, Thiago Silva stood strong to deny Gomez the opener.
The first big chance for Brazil came in the 36th minute when Gabriel Jesus broke free in Germany’s half. A quick cut-back was enough to off-balance Boateng and Rüdiger, but Jesus’ eventual shot was skewed high and wide. The 20-year-old forward made up for the miss just 60 seconds later, however, when he met Willian’s cross with a powerful header to beat Trapp and give Brazil the lead.
Löw had an injury scare shortly after the break, when Boateng was caught on the back of his ankle by the studs of goalscorer Jesus. After a short few minutes on the sidelines to receive treatment, the captain re-emerged to a round of applause to continue playing.
Brazil increased their pressure on the hosts and were visibly the better team, with their quick passing and moving causing plenty of problems. A Coutinho effort flew just past Trapp’s goal, before Löw decided change was require. Julian Brandt came on in place of Goretzka, Lars Stindl for Sané and Sandro Wagner for Gomez.
Few notable chances
Despite their efforts, Germany struggled to create many goalscoring opportunities. The five-time time World Cup winners won the majority of their challenges and did well to keep the 2014 champions away from their goal. Gabriel Jesus passed up on another good chance to double the guest’s lead (68’)
Löw’s men came closest in the 72nd minute, but Wagner’s header never really tested Brazil goalkeeper Alisson. Draxler forced a strong save in the 92nd minute, but in the end Brazil held on for the win.
Joachim Löw will announce his provisional squad for the World Cup on 15th May, before the squad then travels to Südtirol for a training camp eight days later to put the finishing touches on preparations to defend our 2014 crown.
Germany will face Mexico (17th June, 17:00 CEST), Sweden (23rd June, 20:00 CEST) and South Korea (27th June, 16:00) in Group F at the World Cup in Russia.