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Europe: UEFA Nations League
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R. Malinovskiy (77)
M. Ginter (20), L. Goretzka (49)

Germany narrowly beat Ukraine to grab first win of 2020

By Rune Gjerulff   @runegjerulff

Matthias Ginter and Leon Goretzka scored as Germany beat Ukraine 2-1 for their first win of 2020.
Matthias Ginter scored the opener against Ukraine.
Matthias Ginter scored the opener against Ukraine.Photo: Steffen Prößdorf, CC BY-SA 4.0
Having drawn their last three games, Germany returned to winning ways as they beat Ukraine 2-1 in front of around 17,500 spectators in Kiev to claim their first ever win in the UEFA Nations League on Saturday.

Joachim Löw made nine changes to the team that drew 3-3 with Turkey on Wednesday, with Antonio Rüdiger and Julian Draxler the only two players to retain their places as the likes of Manuel Neuer, Joshua Kimmich, Toni Kroos and Serge Gnabry came into the line-up.

After an unconvincing opening, Löw's side broke the deadlock after 20 minutes, when two centre-backs combined as Antonio Rüdiger's low cross was dummied by Serge Gnabry and swept home by Matthias Ginter from close range.

'Die Mannschaft' could have added to the score before the break, but Ukraine goalkeeper Heorhiy Bushchan kept out a long-range effort from Joshua Kimmich after 30 minutes before denying a header from Serge Gnabry four minutes later.

Bushchan went from hero to villain at the beginning of the second half as he failed to hold on to a cross, allowing Leon Goretzka to head the ball into the open net.

Julian Draxler caused plenty of problems for Ukraine's defence and set up a good chance for Lukas Klostermann with a cross to the far post, but the right-back's half-volley was tipped over by Bushchan in the 57th minute.

Ukraine created very few chances, but grabbed a lifeline with 77 on the clock, when Ruslan Malinovsky scored from the penalty spot after Niklas Süle brought down Yaremchuk in the box.

But after squandering a lead in the past three games, Germany managed to hold on to the win this time, securing a 2-1 victory.

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