Germany picked up only their second victory of 2020 as Gian-Luca Waldschmidt scored to help Joachim Low’s men to a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic.
Benfica forward Waldschmidt netted his second goal in five international appearances in Leipzig, where Low played a new-look team and was rewarded with a solid performance.
There were impressive debuts for wing-backs Ridle Baku and Philipp Max, while Florian Neuhaus dictated play from midfield in the absence of Joshua Kimmich as Robin Koch dealt ably with the visitors’ attacking threat.
Low will hope these players can help to usher in a new era of success after a challenging period for his side, who are unbeaten in this calendar year but have too often stuttered to draws and have plenty of work to do in the Nations League.
A strong debut from Philipp Max! (69′)
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) November 11, 2020
Max was involved in the only goal after 13 minutes as he pounced when Neuhaus’ powerful 20-yard drive was parried by Jiri Pavlenka, crossing for Waldschmidt to turn the ball past the recovering goalkeeper from close range.
Ilkay Gundogan should have doubled Germany’s lead when a sweeping move ended in him firing disappointingly straight at Pavlenka, and Julian Brandt wasted a gift as he blazed wide after collecting a loose ball in the Czech Republic box.
Nadiem Amiri, on for the injured Jonas Hofmann, was smartly denied by Pavlenka twice in quick succession late in a first half laden with chances that ended with just one goal for the hosts.
Substitute Tomas Soucek headed narrowly wide as the Czech Republic improved after the interval, and Tomas Holes sent a powerful drive over the crossbar from 25 yards.
Neuhaus almost capped a fine performance with a memorable goal when he drove a fierce half-volley goalwards from the edge of the box, but his attempt hit the corner of post and bar and Low’s men had to settle for a modest margin of victory, seeing out a slightly nervy finish.
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Solid performances from debutants and inexperienced players alike gave Germany, who had conceded seven goals across their previous three games, a more assured look, and Low should not hesitate to use the likes of Max and Waldschmidt going forward.
Koch shows his class
The way Koch sprinted back to dispossess Michal Krmencik when the Czech Republic striker broke clear early on will have pleased Low, who saw the Leeds United defender help Germany win 60 per cent of their duels.
After scoring against Slovakia in September and subsequently showing some good form for Club Brugge, Krmencik carried the visitors’ main attacking threat, but he was replaced after mustering just one shot in the opening 45 minutes.
Germany entertain Ukraine on Saturday in the Nations League, while the Czech Republic play Israel the following day in the same competition.
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