Germany beat Saudi Arabia 3-2 on their way to picking up their first win at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Despite a 4-2 defeat to Brazil in their opening game, Germany still have a chance to advance to the quarterfinals but will need a win against Ivory Coast in their final group stage game on Wednesday (28th July, 10:00 CEST) in order to remain in the competition.
Nadiem Amiri (Bayer Leverkusen) opened the scoring in the 11th minute, while Ragnar Ache (Eintracht Frankfurt) later restored Germany’s lead (43’). Saudi Arabia were able to draw level twice, both times through Sami Al Najei (30’, 50’). Amos Pieper was sent off for a late challenge in the 67th minute, as Stefan Kuntz’s side rallied to turn the game around. In the 75th minute, Felix Uduokhai (FC Augsburg) headed home the winner for Germany.
Kuntz made three changes to the side following the defeat to Brazil. Eduard Löwen, Cedric Teuchert and Ache replaced Anton Stach, Marco Richter (knock) and Maximilian Arnold (suspended). Florian Müller started in goal, with Uduokhai, David Raum, Pieper and Benjamin Henrichs in defence. In attack, Kuntz sent out Arne Maier, Löwen, Teuchert, Ache, Amiri and Max Kruse, who replaced Arnold as captain.
Germany looked to attack right from the start, with several chances in the opening minutes. Ache headed just wide (4’) before both Löwen (5’) and Kruse (6’) tested Saudi Arabia’s goalkeeper Mohammed Al Rubaie. Henrichs, Kruse and Teuchert linked up beautifully in the 11th minute to set up Amiri, who was able to tap home unmarked at the far post to open the scoring.
At the back, Germany were able to keep Saudi Arabia well contained for much of the first half. However, the opponents would then score off their first real chance of the night. Müller was unable to keep hold of Salem Al-Dawsari’s shot and Al Najei was able to sweep home the rebound (30’). Ache then had a shot from outside the area in the 37th minute, but Al Rubaie was easily able to scoop it up.
A strong tackle from Raum denied Saudi Arabia just before the break (39’). Germany continued to dominate proceedings and were rewarded with another goal. Pieper’s long ball found Ache, who was then able to poke home his own rebound to put Germany back in the lead (43’).
Saudi Arabia came out of the half-time break strong, and took advantage of Germany’s lack of concentration at the back to equalise. Once again, it was Al Najei who would beat Müller (50’). Kuntz’s side had difficulties defending their opponent’s quick counter-attacks, and created few chances for themselves in the minutes that followed. The best chance of the opening 15 minutes of the second half fell to Amiri after a quick give-and-go (55’).
After a late challenge from Pieper, referee Victor Gomes showed the defender a red card after consulting VAR (67‘). Germany were forced to play the final 20 minutes of the match a man down, against a strong Saudi Arabia side.
But, the team showed incredible fighting spirit. After a corner from Kruse, Uduokhai was able to head home unmarked from the goal mouth to put Germany back ahead (75’). Ache then came close to adding another just minutes later. Saudi Arabia continued to press for another equaliser, but in the end it was Germany who would come out on top 3-2 in what was a hard-fought match.