Max Meyer stole the show in Bastian Schweinsteiger’s final international appearance with his first Germany goal and an eye-catching performance in a 2-0 friendly win against Finland.
On a night when one of Germany’s finest players picked up his 121st and final cap, Schalke midfielder Meyer – making only his second senior international appearance – emerged as a potential star of the future with a confident display and a well-taken goal.
Borussia Park in Monchengladbach was almost half empty as the curtain fell on an international career that saw Schweinsteiger become a World Cup winner in 2014, but the 32-year-old was nonetheless in tears when he gave a farewell speech to the crowd before kick-off.
Schweinsteiger’s team-mates conspired for 68 minutes to create a goal-scoring chance for their captain before he departed to a standing ovation, but in a game that Germany dominated almost from start to finish, it was Joachim Low’s new generation of players that pulled the strings.
Meyer, who had impressed for the German Olympic football team in Rio, timed his run perfectly to score after 55 minutes and it was 2-0 via a deflected cross from substitute Mesut Ozil 12 minutes later.
Low lined up confidently with a back three, starting Joshua Kimmich and Shkodran Mustafi alongside 20-year-old Hoffenheim defender Niklas Sule.
The home side pressed down the flanks and Karim Bellarabi forced Lukas Hradecky into a diving save with his fast, low cross, before Meyer drew another save with a well-struck long range shot.
Mustafi then headed narrowly over the crossbar from a Meyer corner, and Germany’s constant movement and flawless passing restricted Hans Backe’s young Finland side to a tiny share of first-half possession.
Finland centre-back Paulus Arajuuri crashed the ball onto his own post as Germany pressed for the opener, and Mario Gotze should have scored when Meyer split the Finland defence with a throughball, but the Borussia Dortmund forward hesitated and Jukka Raitala blocked his attempt.
Second-half substitute Teemu Pukki was inches away from spoiling the party when he slid in on Jere Uronen’s cross, before Kevin Volland created a near identical chance for Gotze at the other end.
Meyer got his reward for a dynamic performance when Volland had the foresight to step over Gotze’s cross and allow the 20-year-old to crash the ball home between on-rushing defenders Alexander Ring and Markus Halsti.
Finland defended tirelessly and deserved a low scoreline, but there was little that Hradecky could do to prevent Ozil’s cross from finding the net when it took a deflection off Arajuuri, looped up onto the post and slowly crossed the line to make it 2-0.