The German National Team started out a bit slow. Belarus put a lot of people behind the ball at all times and frustrated the German offense. Germany finally broke through with a goal in the 41st minute and took a 1-0 lead into halftime. They built on their lead early and often in the second half. Germany finished the day in Mönchengladbach with a 4-0 victory and a spot in Euro 2020 next summer. All in all, a good day at Borussia Park. Here are our match awards.
Jersey swap: Igor Stasevich
Stasevich was one of a few bright spots for Belarus tonight. He was aggressive on both sides of the ball, leading his team in tackles and having very good pass accuracy, all things considered. Unfortunately for him, the thing he will likely remember from the night will be his missed penalty kick.
Tip of the cap: Leon Goretzka
The Bayern Munich forward played the full 90 minutes today and scored Germany’s second goal of the evening. The goal came three minutes after halftime. Kroos passed the ball to Goretzka who slotted it in low and to the left from the corner of the 18-yard box. Goretzka also helped create chances, as Germany constantly had the ball and looked for holes in the Belorussian defense.
Golf clap: Manuel Neuer
Number one in your programs and number one in our hearts. The captain wasn’t called into action much, but when he was, he made the most of it. Not at all surprising, though, his first touch came in about the 30th minute and was closer to midfield than it was to his goal line. His first save was in the 40th minute, when Laptev unleashed a beautiful shot that was curling away from Neuer. Neuer made a huge diving stop, which at the time kept the game scoreless. His last save was a penalty save. He was able to guess the right way and get down to the ball to seal a shutout for Germany.
Standing ovation: Matthias Ginter
After only 29 caps with Germany’s senior team, Ginter scored his first international goal in front of his hometown fans. Although he may have been offsides, Ginter opened the scoring with a beautiful back-heel flick in front of the goal that was set up by a great ball in by Serge Gnabry. Ginter had had the best opportunity to score, when he forced the Belorussian keeper to make a fantastic diving save. He also provided the assist to Kroos’ first goal.
All this being said, remember that this kid is a center-back! It is pretty impressive for a young defender to provide a team with so much offensive firepower in the run of play.
Meister of the match: Toni Kroos
The Real Madrid midfielder showed up big for Germany today. Although we didn’t hear his name too much in the first half, Kroos quietly controlled the game the whole time. He had the most passes and completed passes, the most touches, and the most shots. He got on the scoresheet early in the second half by adding the assist to Goretzka’s goal. He then finished the scoring for Germany, adding two goals of his own — the second preceded by some dazzling footwork. Altogether he had eight shots, five of which were on frame. He kept Belarus guessing all night. It is refreshing to see him perform well again for Germany. This is will probably be needed from him next year in Euro 2020.