Well, that wasn’t expected. At all. After losing 1-0 in their Euro 2020 opening game against France, Germany dispatched reigning champions Portugal with a resounding 4-2 victory at Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena stadium. Joachim Löw’s men remained in control for the vast majority of the match and showed great fight as they came back to score four goals after conceding Portugal’s opener in the 15th minute. So, who were the standout performers from the match? Let’s take a look:
Jersey swap: Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo may not be a one-man army anymore but against Germany, the 36-year old was Portugal’s best player on the pitch. Captain Ronaldo worked hard throughout the match and proved to be a constant source of worry for the German backline.
Der Kaiser: Joshua Kimmich
It doesn’t matter if it is at right back or in midfield, Joshua Kimmich has it in him to exert his influence from anywhere on the pitch. Most of Germany’s game in the first half went through Kimmich, especially in the attacking phase. The 26-year old’s chemistry with his Bayern teammates was on point, with the likes of Serge Gnabry and Thomas Müller often benefitting from Kimmich’s vision. A solid outing for the future captain that included an assist to Gosens.
Fußballgott: Toni Kroos
Germany remained in Kroos-control throughout the majority of the match, with the Real Madrid man registering team-high 109 touches, 85 passes and 4 interceptions.
It was a much-improved performance from the 31-year old, after his lacklustre display against France. Kroos did what he does best, anticipating his opponent’s moves, dictating his team’s tempo and acting as a safe passing option by recycling possession.
Der Bomber: Robin Gosens
Portugal had absolutely no answer to Robin Gosens’ threat on the left flank. Call it Jogi Löw’s brilliance or a mishap from Fernando Santos, Portugal simply couldn’t keep an intact shape to counter Germany’s width and often times, shifted to the right-side when Die Mannschaft moved the ball between the likes of Kimmich and Matthias Ginter. As a result, Gosens was often left unmarked and his constant runs into the box overwhelmed Ruben Dias and co, especially when the play was switched. The Atalanta left-back was able to display his fine footballing qualities, scoring Germany’s crucial opening goal and assisting Kai Havertz in the second-half.
Meister of the match: Thomas Müller
This time, Bayern Munich vice-captain Thomas Müller didn’t need to score a hat-trick of goals to be the game changer. Try as Pepe would, he couldn’t stop Müller from inflicting irreparable damage on the Seleção, once again. But the 31-year-old wasn’t merely creating space for his teammates. Tonight, Müller was Germany’s answer to the ‘striker problem’.
Die ersten drei Punkte für das @DFB_Team und eine sehr gute Leistung, auf die man aufbauen kann. ✔️— Bastian Schweinsteiger (@BSchweinsteiger) June 19, 2021
Alles in allem ein Spiel mit viel Leidenschaft und Tempo, bei dem für mich besonders Robin Gosens, Joshua Kimmich und Thomas Müller herausgestochen haben. #EURO2020
The first three points for that @DFB_Team and a very good performance that can be built on.
All in all, a game with a lot of passion and speed, in which Robin Gosens, Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Müller stood out for me. #EURO2020
The free-spirited Raumdeuter constantly received passes in pockets of spaces and linked-up well with his teammates. Müller might not have been Germany’s numero uno target in the box but the playmaker was crucial in helping his team progress the ball to dangerous areas as well as in unsettling the opponents.