On Saturday night in Amsterdam, Germany suffered their first defeat to the Netherlands since 2002. Joachim Löw’s men were beaten 3-0 by the Oranje, who took the lead through Virgil van Dijk on the half-hour mark and put the game to bed with two late goals from Memphis Depay and Georginio Wynaldum once Germany had thrown everything forward in search of an equaliser.
Germany now sit bottom of the Nations League Group A1 behind World Cup holders France and the Netherlands. The game was Joachim Löw’s 168th as head coach, making him the all-time DFB record holder of longest-serving coach ahead of the legendary Sepp Herberger (167).
Joachim Löw gave Mark Uth a debut start against the Netherlands, making him the 100th Germany international debutant of the Löw era. Alongside Uth, Löw named five Bayern stars in his starting XI: Hummels and Boateng at centre back in front of captain Manuel Neuer, with Joshua Kimmich in defensive midfield and Thomas Müller attacking down the right.
Jonas Hector and Matthias Ginter completed the back four either side of Hummels and Boateng, while Toni Kroos and Emre Can lined up in a more attacking central role in front of Kimmich. Timo Werner took his place on the left side of the front three.
Germany came out of the traps quickly in a sold-out Johan Cruyff Arena, enjoying the majority of the early possession and posing a particular threat down the left. On several occasions, Thomas Müller migrated over to the left wing to support Timo Werner and some good link-up play between the two of them soon led to Germany’s first chance: Thomas Müller played a dangerous through ball into the path of Timo Werner, whose pace took him away from the defenders, but with the goalkeeper closing him down quickly, Werner could only flick the ball past the goal.
Moments later, Thomas Müller was denied by some quick reflexes from Cillessen, after being picked out by Toni Kroos from out wide. Germany looked their most dangerous at this point in the game, with Mark Uth almost crowning his debut with the opening goal. Once again, Cillessen was on hand for the Netherlands to avert the danger.
Having survived the pressure, Koeman’s Oranje took full advantage of their first clear-cut chance: A dangerous Memphis Depay corner completely wrong-footed Manuel Neuer, who could only watch as Ryan Babel’s header deflected off the crossbar for Virgil van Dijk to nod into an open goal from half a yard.
Somewhat derailed by the goal, Germany called upon some Matthias Ginter heroics on the goal line to prevent a quick second - the Gladbach defender miraculously intercepting a low cross without turning the ball in for an own goal.
Before half time, there was to be one more big chance for Germany, who had now picked themselves back up. An outstanding diagonal pass from Emre Can rolled into the path of Thomas Müller, who seemed certain to equalise, but could only hit the side-netting. Joachim Löw’s team went into the changing rooms at half time trailing by one goal, but by no means out of the game.
The change of ends was greeted with attacking football from both sides, which resulted in a handful of chances in the first ten minutes of the second half. Mats Hummels was one fortunate deflection away from the equaliser, before he returned to his defensive duties at the other end and ironed out the danger created by a lively Memphis Depay.
The introduction of Leroy Sané and Julian Draxler gave Joachim Löw’s attack a new lease of life in the 57th minute, and Germany proceeded to remain on the front foot in their quest for an equaliser. After 65 minutes, however, a golden opportunity for Leroy Sané went begging. Seemingly unfazed by the miss, Sané continued to attack with courage, but the Dutch defence stood strong. There was no way through for Germany.
Understandably, Germany threw everything forward in the closing stages, but a poor touch from Draxler in the build-up play allowed Netherlands to break and double their lead in the 87th minute. With the game all-but over, Wynaldum rubbed salt in the German wounds with a third Netherlands goal on the brink of full time, making the final score a painful 3-0 to the hosts.
Germany’s first chance to bounce back from this disappointment presents itself as soon as Tuesday night, when Löw’s men travel to the home of world champions France.