After dropping points late in the last few matches, Germany finally won their first match in the 2020-21 UEFA Nations League. Leading 1-0 at halftime on a goal from Mathias Ginter, Leon Goretzka doubled the lead right after the break with a “right place, right time” type of goal. Germany was looking for a third goal when Niklas Sule conceded a penalty, which was converted and caused for a nervy final fifteen minutes yet again. Although Germany never found their third goal, they were able to see the match out and take all three points. Here are our match awards from the game.
Jersey Swap: Roman Yaremchuk
The 24-year old striker, who plays for KAA Gent in Belgium, made his presence known all night. He was pestering Germany’s back-line and putting pressure on every back pass. Although he did not record a shot on goal, he drew the foul on Sule in the box that led to Ukraine’s only goal of the night. He had one key pass and connected on all but three of his passes overall.
Der Bomber: Julian Draxler
Draxler was very creative in his movement and distribution for Germany tonight. He completed nearly 90% of his passes and created a lot of dangerous opportunities for Germany, recording three key passes. He also had his own chances to score. He had three shots, two of which were on target, forcing Ukraine’s fairly inexperienced keeper to make a save.
Fußballgott: Joshua Kimmich
Kimmich maybe had a quieter night than we are used to seeing from him at Bayern Munich, but he was very effective. He controlled the midfield from box-to-box. He had 131 touches and completed 116/120 passes (97%). While he was mostly involved in the defense and in the build-up, Kimmich blasted a long-distance shot that Ukraine’s keeper had to give everything he had to knock it over the bar for a corner.
Der Kaiser: Mathias Ginter
Although Germany was working with a back three, Ginter still had freedom to move up and down the right-side of the field and get involved in the attack on occasion. He made timely tackles and interceptions to help Germany keep the cleansheet for most of the game. In addition to his defending, he opened the scoring in the 20th minute. Ginter was forward in the box after a corner kick when the ball was recycled back in to the mix. Rüdiger passed it along the top of the six-yard box and Ginter squared the ball right into the back of the net to give Germany the lead.
Meister of the match: Leon Goretzka
Goretzka was great in his return to Germany’s starting lineup. His perfectly-timed runs from of the midfield were giving Ukraine troubles all night. His goal shortly after the break wound up being the game-winner. It came on one of his runs into the box on a Lukas Klosterman cross that was mishandled by the keeper. Goretzka was definitely in the right place at the right time, but he had great awareness to knock the ball in after the goalie’s blunder. Tonight’s performance continues Goretzka’s great post-lockdown 2020.