The Germany national team have made a winning start to the World Cup year, beating Israel 2-0 to continue Hansi Flick’s 100 percent record as head coach in what was his eighth game in charge. Kai Havertz (36’) and Timo Werner (45+1’) scored the only goals of the game in the first half, although there were two missed penalties in the closing stages of the match.
Flick opted to start Marc-André ter Stegen in goal, with debutant Nico Schlotterbeck partnereing Jonathan Tah at centre-back. David Raum and Thilo Kehrer completed the back-four at left- and right-back respectively. Returning players Julian Draxler and Julian Weigl were handed starts in midfield, joined by Jamal Musiala, Ilkay Gündogan and Havertz, while Werner led the line.
The DFB-Team started strongly, but were lacking precision in the final third as Draxler (7’) and Havertz (10’) had efforts blocked away. The match was being played almost exclusively in the Israel half, but the visitors were quick to close any gaps in their defence.
It wasn’t until the 18th minute that the first real dangerous moment occurred, with Werner inches away from meeting a low cross. Another delivery from Raum inadvertently caused problems for Ofir Marciano, as a hand from the Israel goalkeeper was required to stop it from dropping under the crossbar (22’). He demonstrated strong reflexes again shortly after to keep out Havertz from twelve yards, and Draxler could only find the side-netting with the rebound (29’). Gündogan’s shot in the 32nd minute was also too central and easily dealt with (32’).
The chances were getting clearer and more frequent now, though. Some good driving forward by Schlotterbeck led to efforts from Werner and Havertz, but neither could beat Marciano (35’). The latter wasn’t to be denied at the third attempt though, heading Raum’s corner-kick in at the near post to open the scoring (36’). Havertz’s Chelsea teammate Werner then added to the score on the stroke of half time, getting a toe to Gündogan’s free-kick delivery to make it 2-0 at the break (45+1’).
Two changes at the interval saw Kevin Trapp replace an untested ter Stegen in goal and Thomas Müller take over the captain’s armband from Gündogan. Draxler registered the first chance of the second half, but his finish from Raum’s cross lacked accuracy (49’). The flow of the game wasn’t affected by the change of ends as Germany dominated possession, probing in search of gaps in the Israel backline. The away side offered a threat for the first time in the 53rd minute, although Mounas Dabbur was kept at bay by Tah’s block.
At the other end, a fine solo run from Musiala was only missing the final product (54’). Kehrer was also unlucky not to bag his first international goal, with his acrobatic shot brilliantly tipped away by Marciano. The tempo of the match was much higher in this half, with Israel struggling to cope with Germany’s gegenpressing. Hansi Flick also brought on some fresh legs and there was another debut as Mainz’s Anton Stach came off the bench.
Die Mannschaft continued to work on killing off the game. Draxler’s half-volley was kept out by Marciano (68’), while Havertz accidentally got in the way of a promising-looking strike from Günter (78’). The golden chance for goal number three arrived in the 89th minute when substitute Lukas Nmecha won a penalty, but Müller sent his spot-kick onto the post. Israel then won a penalty of their own when a lapse in concentration from the otherwise brilliant Schlotterbeck led to a foul. However, Trapp was on hand to save from Yonatan Cohen (90+4’).