France’s 26-year unbeaten record over Germany has ended as the visitors came from behind to win 2-1 in an entertaining international friendly at the Stade de France.
Marseille’s Mathieu Valbuena opened the scoring following Karim Benzema’s free-kick which cannoned off the bar, before Thomas Muller restored parity soon after the break. Despite the hosts’ dominating, Sami Khedira turned in late to ensure a rare win in the capital for die Mannschaft.
In a bright opening from both sides, it was the visitors who spurned the best opportunity. Ilkay Gundogan’s break saw him pick out Khedira with a fine pass towards the edge of the area, but the Real Madrid star could only drag his shot narrowly wide.
Whilst les Bleus opted for a more cautious approach, die Nationalelf should’ve broken the deadlock just six minutes from the start amidst a ferocious opening. A neat ball threaded into Mesut Ozil from Thomas Muller saw the former denied by a sprawling Hugo Lloris save, who raced off his line to maintain the score.
Deschamps’ side settled into their rhythm following a frantic opening, dominated by Germany. Nevertheless, the hosts did create a chance of their own, as Newcastle midfielder Moussa Sissoko miscued a shot in a promising position, and Rene Adler – back in the international fold following a two year absence – denying Karim Benzema.
France were still struggling with the immense counterattacking threat the visitors pose. Lloris was again called into action, turning a Per Mertesacker header onto his own bar and out for a corner as the Germans ascended.
The relentless attacking from both sides continued in a surprisingly open first half. Ribery displayed trickery and pace to evade his marker, before Valbuena blazed over. Seconds later, profligate finishing saw Benzema beat the trap, but not Adler who pulled off a monster stop to deny the Real Madrid man.
If the centre-backs enjoyed a spotless first half, then the wing-backs endured a torrid period, with Ribery in particular giving the likes of Mertesacker and Lahm a headache, thought it wasn’t long before the game would witness its first goal.
On the stroke of half-time, Benzema’s audacious, curling free-kick slammed against the crossbar, with the smallest player on the field – Valbuena – heading past Adler to hand the hosts the most slender of advantages in a thrilling half.
After the break, the visitors were far more conserved, and the new approach paid dividends almost immediately. Substitute Etienne Capoue was the guilty party in conceding possession as Muller struck past Lloris to restore parity after 51 minutes.
Low’s side, under the watchful eye of Chancellor Angela Merkel, were once more susceptible to the width offered by Valbuena and Ribery, with the latter spurning a golden opportunity to hand the hosts the advantage following Benzema’s sweet cut-back.
Despite that, the tenacious Germans would seize the initiative against the run of play. Ozil threaded a sumptuous ball into Khedira, who beat the flag and Lloris to silence the raucous fans inside the stadium before the hosts were denied by the flag as Germany held on to confirm victory.
Following the result, Germany turn their attention to a double header against Kazakhstan at the end of March, whilst Deschamps’ side entertain Georgia and Spain as the road to Brazil is resumed.