Officially qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar during the last international break didn’t slow down Hansi Flick’s Germany side whatsoever in their 9-0 thrashing of Liechtenstein in Wolfsburg on Thursday. Flick was forced to make several last minute call-ups due to a slew of players that needed to quarantine for coronavirus-related reasons, but Die Mannschaft didn’t miss a beat at the Volkswagen Arena.
For Liechtenstein, it was the worst possible start when Jens Hofer received a straight red for his high boot on Leon Goretzka’s face in the box in just the ninth minute of play. Ilkay Gundogan scored the ensuing penalty and broke the deadlock, but immediately after the accidental incident from Hofer, he went over to console Goretzka, who had to receive a fair amount of treatment from Germany’s physios before resuming play. Goretzka was immediately receptive to Hofer’s apologies, as it was clear it was not the FC Biel-Bienne left back’s intent to hit Goretzka in the face with his raised boot.
Liechtenstein's Jens Hofer got a straight red card after this high boot on Leon Goretzka pic.twitter.com/AavMaSIbrl— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 11, 2021
From a Bayern perspective, Hofer’s challenge wasn’t all that dissimilar to Thomas Muller’s red card in the 2018/19 Champions League match against AFC Ajax for his karate challenge on Nicolás Tagliafico. Like Hofer, there was no intent from Muller on that challenge, but he saw red and wound up missing Bayern’s knockout stage matches against Liverpool.
After the game, Bayern Munich’s number 8 revealed that he gave Hofer his jersey in an effort to show his reconciliation and empathy for Hofer getting sent off to early on (az). “He was completely exhausted and buckled, I was really sorry for him. That’s why I gave him my jersey after the game,” Goretzka said.
Hofer also revealed how he had repetitively apologized to Goretzka after he had received his treatment and had even approached him during the halftime break to make sure he was alright and didn’t have any hard feelings. “I apologized several times. After the break I was briefly in the dressing room, so we spoke briefly and said goodbye on the positive side. I got to know him a little and I am very happy that he is better,” he explained.