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Havertz and Werner score in first friendly victory of Flick Era

By Peter Vice   @ViceytheSS

In a wild finish Saturday night in Sinsheim, both Germany and Israel missed penalties in second half-injury time.

As a result, the scoreline after 45 minutes held throughout. 

Chelsea attackers Timo Werner and Kai Havertz scored in Germany's 2-0 victory. 
Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.
Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.Photo: GEPA Pictures/Sven Sonntag
German Nationalmannschaft head-coach--winner thus far in all of seven World Cup qualifiers--attempted to keep the perfect record of his still young tenure in intact on Saturday evening. The Israeli national team travelled the the PreZero Arena in Sinsheim for what was Flick's very first international friendly. The fixture at the home of Bundesliga club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim was not only a home match for the DFB XI, but also Israeli international Munas Dabbur of the TSG. Dabbur and Wolfsberger AC striker Tai Baribo spearheaded a 4-4-2 put together by Israeli trainer Gadi Brumer.


Flick lined his men up in a clear 4-2-3-1. As promised at a pre-match presser, Freiburg's Nico Schlotterbeck made his full international debut as a starter. Schlotterbeck paired alongside Leverkusen's Jonathan Tah in central defense. PSG's Thilo Kehrer and Hoffenheim's David Raum handled the fullback positions. Ilkay Gündogan and late call-up Julian Weigl worked in a double-six setup. Julian Draxler, Jamal Musiala, and Kai Havertz occupied a heavy rotating second axis behind lead striker Timo Werner. Marc André ter Stegen began the game between the sticks.

The German XI were quite active in the opening ten minutes. Forward combo play was both inventive and well spread about, though many of the flank attacks favored Raum's side. Havertz and Werner were close to linking up with crosses from Raum during an opening spell which hardly saw Israel progress beyond their own halfway line. As under control as Flick's men had things, however, many of the possession cycles seemed to get stuck well prior to good finishing positions.

The German hosts began to truly punch through around the half-hour mark. Havertz finally tested keeper Ofir Marciano in the 29th with a close-range effort. Draxler's follow up went into the side netting. A Hevertz move three minutes later saw Gündogan force Marciano into his second save of the night. Three minutes after that, it was Marciano once again saving a Havertz effort. The shot might have been better, but Marciano also deflected well with a nifty foot-save.

Unfortunately for the Israeli keeper, the Germans were able to capitalize on the ensuing corner. Havertz headed home Raum's service for the 1-0 in the 36th. Germany were able to double the advantage at the stroke of halftime off another set-piece. Werner timed his run perfectly to meet a quick free-kick and buried the finish after a nice run. Goals from the two Chelsea attackers ensured that Flick's men entered the dressing room with a 2-0 lead.

As he also promised in his presser, Flick brought on Eintracht Frankfurt's Kevin Trapp to replace ter Stegen at the half. Thomas Müller also entered for Gündogan. Müller took over Musiala's central ten-slot, while Bayern's young gun dropped back to the six position he's been playing for his club team in recent weeks. A short-lived celebration for the 3-0 in the 50th had to be scratched after it was revealed that Werner was offside before finishing.


Overall, Flick's men put on an optically pleasing show over the next 15 minute. Raum continued to press high on the left, with Kehrer getting into the act on the right as well. Much of the quick German transition play ran through Musiala. Like-for-like subs Anton Stach (on for Weigl) and Cristian Günter (on for Raum) largely picked up where their predecessors had left off in the 63rd. Marciano made another strong save on Draxler in the 68th.

The hosts seemed a bit more content to let their guests circulate the ball amongst themselves. Havertz exited to a strong round of applause in the 80th. Wolfsburg striker Lukas Nmecha served as Flick's final sub. Nmecha was hauled down in the box in the 88th, but Müller regrettably hit the post with his spot kick. Israel were actually awarded their own penalty at 90+3. Trapp stopped Yonatan Cohen's effort to preserve the scoreline.


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