The German national team missed out on a successful start in the first game of the Nations League in the last minute. In a high-tempo game, Germany conceded an equaliser in the sixth minute of added time to draw 1-1 with Spain. Timo Werner had put Germany in front in the 51st minute.
Credit for Werner’s opening goal also goes to debutant Robin Gosens: After a long ball over the top from Ilkay Gündogan, Atalanta’s Robin Gosens took the ball down beautifully and pulled the perfect pass back for Timo Werner, whose quick feet and lethal finish did the rest. Joachim Löw had revealed in advance that the 26-year-old would be starting following his first ever international call-up. Leroy Sané also completed his comeback from injury and got 60 minutes under his belt. Toni Kroos led the team out as captain in Stuttgart.
The two sides set out with similar tactics in Germany’s first ever international fixture behind closed doors – pressing high up the pitch and thereby cancelling each other out for the majority of the first half, which ended goalless.
Nevertheless, neither team could complain about a lack of chances in the first 45. In the 11th minute, Thilo Kehrer became the first player to test David de Gea in the Spain goal. The visitors’ first chance soon followed, after a misplaced pass from Emre Can and a misunderstanding between Niklas Süle and Kevin Trapp left Rodrigo alone in front of an almost open goal. Trapp recovered superbly with some unconventional goalkeeping, however, and kept the game scoreless. Up the other end, Julian Draxler narrowly missed the target, before Leroy Sané unleashed the best effort of the half, forcing de Gea into a top save.
20 minutes into the game, Spain appeared to have taken control. Once again, only Trapp stood in the way of them taking the lead, this time saving from Sergio Busquets (23’). For the most part, Germany’s defence was disciplined and solid. The same could be said for Spain, who also prioritised keeping the opposition out.
Towards the end of the first half, Germany managed to penetrate the Spanish defence a little more, but fell short of creating a chance with inaccurate final balls. With the half-time whistle imminent, Trapp was called upon once again to deflect Rodrigo’s effort one-on-one, this time blocking the shot with his foot.
The restart saw an equally even encounter to before the break, until Timo Werner took the initiative and tilted the game in Germany’s favour. After going in front, Sané and Werner both came close to doubling the lead soon after.
At the back, Germany nipped Spain’s attacks in the bud and were given some added solidity with the introduction of Germany’s Player of the Year Matthias Ginter, who came on to replace Leroy Sané. The closest Spain came to an equaliser before the closing stages was through a Thiago Alcantara shot from distance which flew just the wrong side of the post (70’).
In the 74th minute, Suat Serdar came on for Gündogan for his fourth Germany cap. He was followed in stoppage time by Robin Koch, making his third national team appearance and replacing Werner. Two more opportunities for Germany to double their advantage fell to centre-backs Niklas Süle (78’) and Antonio Rüdiger (87’). Their headers from set-pieces didn’t find the target.
Spain increased the pressure, but continued to meet their match in Kevin Trapp. Ansu Fait had the ball in the back of the net in the second minute of stoppage time, but the goal was disallowed for an offside in the build-up. With practically the last touch of the game, Jose Gaya popped up with an equaliser for Spain.