Germany have their first win in the 2022/23 UEFA Nations League after dismantling Italy 5-2 on Tuesday night in Gladbach. Not long after building an insurmountable 3-0 lead via goals from Joshua Kimmich, Thomas Müller, and an Ilkay Gündogan penalty, Stuttgart natives Serge Gnabry and Timo Werner combined twice to push the scoreline to 5-0 humiliation territory.
The fixture finished 5-2.
The fixture finished 5-2.
|Timo Werner.||Photo: Granada, CC-by-SA 4.0|
Bundestrainer Flick made five changes to the XI that drew 1-1 with Hungary on Saturday night. Lukas Klostermann replaced Thilo Kehrer at right back whilst Antonio Rüdiger slid in for the suspended Nico Schlotterbeck at center-halve. Ilkay Gündogan paired with Joshua Kimmich in the double six set-up amid criticism of Leon Goretzka's form. Thomas Müller and the much discussed Leroy Sané replaced Kai Havertz and Jamal Musiala on the attacking side of Flick's 4-2-3-1.
The DFB-XI got off to a competent, if not particularly exciting start. Maintaining possession proved no challenge for Flick's charges in the early going. The aggressive press produced some early chances, with Sané pulling the first legitimate effort wide in the 7th. Neuer made an excellent double save on Giacomo Raspadori and the Bundesliga linked Wilfried Gnonto one minute later.
The hosts took an early lead in the 10th after some fine team play. Timo Werner latched onto a strong diagonal from Niklas Süle. The Chelsea striker took advantage of a nice half-space on the left to dish off to David Raum. The Hoffenheim fullback spotted Kimmich ghosting in on a quality trail and served up a nice cross. The Bayern midfielder took an intelligent touch and finished calmly.
Germany remained confident on the ball, though the tempo of the game gradually slowed down over the next 15 minutes. DFB attacking waves often suffered from a bit of hesitancy. The next big chance came two minutes after the half-hour-mark. Jonas Hofmann failed to beat Italian keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma from close range after some quality set-up work from Sané and Werner.
It appeared as if the first 45 was destined to end with a 1-0 scoreline. Sané and Werner missed quality chances as halftime approached and a pair of Italian injuries slowed the match flow to a crawl. Germany were nevertheless awarded a penalty at 45+2 when Alessandro Bastoni knocked Hofmann down in the penalty area. Gündogan converted from the spot for the 2-0.
Italian trainer Roberto Mancini pulled the trigger on a double switch at the half in an effort to shake things up. Flick's men had some difficulty coping with the redesigned Azurri press at first, but were soon able to increase their lead even further. Müller finished off a failed Leonardo Spinazzola clearance in the 51st for the 3-0.
The guests definitely took their foot off the gas following the third goal. Werner found himself frustrated at the hour mark when he spurned a golden opportunity to make it 4-0 right in front of the Italian net. Eight minutes after that, however, Werner would get a tally. The Stuttgart native finished off a cross from his fellow hometown colleague--the recently subbed on Serge Gnabry--in the 68th.
Less than a minute after that, Werner had a brace and Gnabry had another assist. A distracted Donnarumma turned the ball over with a terrible pass out of the back. Gnabry intervened to set up Werner for the easy 5-0. Gnonto managed to help out his cause for a potential transfer to German football with a pull-back goal in the 78th.
Bastoni added another meaningless tally at 90+4.