Jersey Swap: Aleksey Ionov
This was tough. Russia was awful in nearly every aspect of the game. Aleksey Ionov made Manuel Neuer dive (although the shot was wide of the net), so I guess that counts for something. Just a terrible effort from Russia unfortunately.
Tip of the Cap: Kai Havertz
The 19-year old phenom was free to roam behind the front three and did a tremendous job in the role of playmaker. A perfectly placed through ball by Havetz led to Serge Gnabry’s goal as the Bayer Leverkusen man picked up an assist. If Havertz was bothered by the interchanging of positions that was occurring, he showed no ill-effects and seamlessly found space around the front three players. It was a very encouraging effort from the youngster.
Golf Clap: Leroy Sané
The much maligned (at least for Germany) Manchester City man got the scoring started and displayed exactly what he is capable of in helping guide the Die Mannschaft attack. An offensive force, Sané showed his pace and offensive flair to help kick-start the German offense, even if he left a few quality chances on the pitch. With each game, Sané is proving his worthiness as a starter.
Standing Ovation: Serge Gnabry
It was a phenomenal showing from Gnabry, who looked free and at ease with a superb first-half showing. Gnabry’s ability to work with Werner, Sané, and Havertz was the difference in the game as Germany applied heavy pressure on the Russian defense early in the contest. Gnabry setup Sané’s goal to start the scoring before he later converted a perfect feed from Havertz for Germany’s third goal. Awesome effort from Gnabry.
Meister of the Match: Niklas Süle
The Bayern big man was solid along the back line and also contributed a goal (as predicted). Tasked with anchoring a bit of a different formation, Süle was up to the challenge. The 23-year-old was a strong and steady presence, especially when the outside defenders gambled too high up the pitch and left the Bayern man staring down an oncoming rush. After a couple of shaky showings for the Bavarians, Süle picked up his game for the national team.