The Germany national team were in goalscoring form in their dress rehearsal ahead of UEFA EURO 2020. Joachim Löw’s side strolled to a 7-1 win against minnows Latvia to give them a boost of confidence for their tricky group games against France, Portugal and Latvia. Thanks to low infection rates in Düsseldorf, 1,000 key workers and their families were able to watch on from the stands.
Die Mannschaft demonstrated clinical finishing in the first half, something that had been missing in recent matches. Five different players got their name on the scoresheet before the break in the form of Robin Gosens, Ilkay Gündogan, Thomas Müller, Kai Havertz and Serge Gnabry. Substitutes Timo Werner and Leroy Sané joined them in the second half, while Aleksejs Saveljevs netted an unstoppable consolation goal for Latvia to deny Manuel Neuer a clean sheet on his 100th senior cap.
Head coach Joachim Löw made four changes to the side that started the 1-1 draw with Denmark. Niklas Süle, Lukas Klostermann, Florian Neuhaus and Leroy Sané dropped to the bench, with later arrivals to the training camp Antonio Rüdiger, Kai Havertz, Toni Kroos and Ilkay Gündogan all coming in. The starting line-up was in fact the oldest Germany had put out in over 19 years.
Germany started strong, with several chances in the opening minutes. Both Thomas Müller (1’) and Havertz (2’) could have opened the scoring early on, but just missed the target, as Latvia struggled to keep their opponents at bay.
In response to Germany’s constant pressure, Latvia (ranked 138th in the FIFA world rankings) dropped back and closed down the spaces their opponents were looking to exploit. Germany struggled to create chances in the face of this newfound pressure, but still managed to come close through Serge Gnabry (13’) and Havertz (16’). Die Mannschaft enjoyed 80 per cent of the ball in the opening minutes of the game - a strong sign of their dominance.
Eventually, Germany were rewarded for their persistence. Havertz set up Gosens for his first senior goal for Germany, before doing the same for Gündogan just 86 seconds later. Joshua Kimmich, who was playing on the right, then hit the post in the 26th minute. Just a minute later, it was Müller who would add his name to the scoresheet.
The hosts combined brilliantly to outplay their opponents, and were unlucky to not add to their scoreline in the minutes that followed. Gnabry fluffed a chance in the 37th minute, but it didn’t take long for Germany to celebrate another goal, as Latvia’s goalkeeper Roberts Ozols deflected Havertz’s shot into his own net. Gnabry then made it 5-0 on the stroke of half-time.
Not even the half-time break could slow Germany’s momentum, as substitutes Timo Werner and Leroy Sané slotted seamlessly into attack. Werner would then net Germany’s sixth of the night in the 50th minute.
Löw then made a triple sub, bringing on Niklas Süle, Christian Günter and Emre Can. Germany remained in full control, and sought to add to their tally. Sané (65’) and Mats Hummels (67’) both came close to adding their names to the scoresheet.
Manuel Neuer didn’t have much to do on his 100th senior cap, but would see his clean sheet marred by Aleksejs Saveljevs (75’). Latvia’s first shot on target saw them get on the board, but it wasn’t long before Sané would restore Germany’s six-goal advantage.
Germany will now head to Herzogenaurach, their home base for the EUROs, as they get their tournament underway against France on 15th June.