Germany moved to the top of their Nations League group with a 3-1 win over Ukraine on Saturday night. Goals from Leroy Sané (23’) and Timo Werner (33’, 64’) sealed the three points in Leipzig after the visitors had taken an early lead.
Captain Manuel Neuer, who won his 95th cap and therefore drew level with Sepp Maier’s record for most appearances by a German goalkeeper, returned to the team alongside Niklas Süle and Matthias Ginter, Leon Goretzka and the attacking trio of Werner, Sané and Serge Gnabry.
Despite a strong start by Germany, the visitors were the ones to open the scoring in Leipzig. Roman Yaremchuk struck a powerful effort into the top corner past Manuel Neuer after 12 minutes.
Joachim Löw’s side didn’t have to wait long for an equaliser though. After winning the ball back, a quick counter attack ensued thanks to Leon Goretzka’s tackle and pass through to Leroy Sané. The winger cut back inside onto his left foot and nestled the ball into the far corner (23’). Goretzka almost got on the scoresheet himself moments later, testing out the visiting keeper with a powerful long-range shot (26’).
While Ukraine looked to break at real pace once winning possession, they didn’t manage to create further chances in the first half. Germany, however, did. In the 33rd minute, Robin Koch chipped the ball over the Ukraine defence to Leon Goretzka, who, with a brilliant touch, managed to square it across to Timo Werner. The striker only had to head it into an empty net and duly obliged to give Germany the lead going into half time.
Ukraine came extremely close to an equaliser of their own shortly into the second half. Zinchenko’s shot was deflected onto the post by Niklas Süle (52’). At the other end, Sané’s effort was blocked at the last minute (57’), while Gnabry had two half chances moments later (60’, 61’). Germany got their goal in the 64th minute thanks to Timo Werner again. Gündogan started the move with a pass out wide to Ginter and his cross was converted by Werner, albeit via a deflection.
Ukraine stepped up their attacking intent in the hope of getting back into the game and again hit the post through a curler from Marlos (75’). Germany, meanwhile, were still creating chances themselves. Substitute Julian Brandt tested out Pyatov from a tight angle (79’), before Goretzka headed straight at the keeper from a good position (80’).
There was still time for the away side to hit the woodwork once again, this time through Junior Moreas (82’). Ultimately, they couldn’t find a second goal and Germany saw out an important 3-1 win.