WC Qualification Europe
2 - 1
(0 - 1)
S. Gnabry (52), T. Müller (81)
I. Hagi (9)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Late Müller goal ensures fourth straight victory under Flick

Hansi Flick's fourth match in charge of the German Nationalmannschaft allowed the new national team head coach to maintain his perfect record. 

The DFB-XI did concede their first goal under the new Bundestrainer.

At the end of the evening, goals from Serge Gnabry and Thomas Müller still gave the team a deserved victory. 
At times a bit sloppy, but never failing for pace, the German national team continued their maximum start to the Hansi Flick Era. A 2-1 win over visiting Romania in Hamburg on Friday evening makes it 12 points from a possible 12 under the new Bundestrainer.

Shortly before kickoff, team captain and first choice keeper Manuel Neuer had to withdraw with abductor problems. Marc Andre ter Stegen took Neuer's place between the sticks with Joshua Kimmich snapping on the skipper's armband. With Ilkay Gündogan also due to injury, Flick opted to start Marco Reus behind Timo Werner in the ten slot. Kimmich played alongside preferred partner Leon Gortezka.

The team again lined up in the 4-2-3-1 formation with Jonas Hofmann at the right-fullback position. Thilo Kehrer worked opposite Hofmann with Niklas Süle and Antonio Rüdiger talking central defense. Bayern wingers Leroy Sané and Serge Gnabry took the flanks behind lead striker Timo Werner.

Werner found himself brought down in the penalty area in the 5th minute and match official Cüneyt Cakir initially pointed to the spot. After being compelled to take another look at Andrei Burca's late challenge by the VAR team, however, the Turkish ref reversed his decision.

Shortly after the review stoppage, the DFB-XI ended up conceding their first goal under the regime of their new Bundestrainer. Ianis Hagi was allowed too much space on the German left. The Glasgow Rangers midfielder then nutmegged Rüdiger. Kehrer and Goretzka couldn't catch up.

The 25,000 strong crowd in Hamburg fell silent as Romania took a 1-0 lead in the 9th. The DFB-XI actually had a little trouble adjusting their own offensive flow after falling behind early. Passing inside the penalty area remained far too inaccurate. The underdog guests also shelled up defensively.

Reus, Gnabry, and Wener were all involved in a hectic scramble in the 17th. Following that, however, Flick's men were unable to produce anything truly dangerous until Gnarby shot slightly wide in the 44th. The Germans nevertheless ran hard and weren't necessarily lacking in ideas; perhaps the main reason the Bundestrainer opted not to make any changes at the half.

The same actors in the same tactical shape played much more polished football after the restart. Gnabry equalized seven minutes in following a nice run from Goretzka and a sharp tap pass from Reus. The Bayern winger fired ice-cold into the bottom corner, giving the crowd something to cheer about.

Ideas and pace continued to produce quality forward football over the next 20 minutes, but the hosts were continually frustrated by the as many as seven yellow shirts in the box at once. Thomas Müller and Kai Havertyz came on for Werner and Reus in the 67th. This actually led to some more desperate looking broken plays.

Müller nevertheless got his boot on what proved the game-winning goal in the 81st. Goretzka did very well to flick on a corner from teammate Kimmich into his other teammates path. The finish wasn't especially hard, but certainly took some focus.

Though the group standings appeared quite different during other times over the course of the evening, a draw between Iceland and Armenia puts Germany six points clear at the top of the group.

The Flick XI will now seek to avenge their historic upset loss to North Macedonia last March in the next qualification fixture on Monday.

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