Germany has had…well, an iffy year to say the least. On one hand, they crashed out of the group stage of the World Cup and failed to advance to the final round of the Nations League. On the other hand, though, they still showed a lot of fight, bar a few occasions, and well, in this state, that may be all that fans can ask for. Yes, it was not a good year objectively, but let’s try and focus on the positives for now, and hope for a better tomorrow. Here are the best three games that Germany played this year.
#3. Germany 1-1 England
2022/23 UEFA Nations League A Group 3 Matchday 2
June 7, Allianz Arena, Munich
Germany had been recently knocked out of the Euros by none other than arch rivals England. Well, the stage was set for a revenge match about one year later, in Bayern Munich’s very own Allianz Arena. Many fans were itching to see Hansi Flick’s new Germany strike back with power and purpose.
Despite the previous year’s defeat, Germany gave England one hell of a match. They did not back down from the challenge, but fought valiantly in front of their home crowd. They even went ahead courtesy of Jonas Hofmann, and would have fully avenged their defeat had it not been for a late penalty from Harry Kane. It was not the first penalty that Nico Schlotterbeck had conceded for his country, nor would it be his last. Either he is not good enough to represent Germany, or Borussia Dortmund have ruined yet another German player. Youssoufa Moukoko should get out of there as soon as possible if he wants to live up to his potential. But I digress.
Anyway, it was a very good game. Germany had England on the ropes for the majority of the 90 minutes, and only one boneheaded play and bad luck prevented them from getting the victory. Despite the shared points, Germany was able to hold their heads up high, having gone toe to toe with the Euro finalists.
#2. Germany 5-2 Italy
2022/23 UEFA Nations League A Group 3 Matchday 4
June 14, Borussia-Park, Mönchengladbach
Germany registered their first ever competitive victory over Italy in their final international fixture of the month. The first leg of the game had been a tight affair, and much of the same was expected in the return leg, but Germany gave their home fans a win to remember.
Joshua Kimmich, who had scored Germany’s equalizer in the first match, also opened the scoring in this one early on. Ilkay Gündoğan then extended Germany’s lead from the penalty spot on the stroke of halftime. Thomas Müller then got a goal from a sweet volley shortly after the restart, and Timo Werner of all people scored a quickfire brace, with Serge Gnabry getting both assists right after being subbed on. Two late Italian goals didn’t make much of a difference, as Germany cruised to a big win.
It was a big confidence booster for Germany, and it was also a crucial win that ensured they would be staying in the top flight of the Nations League for another season. Considering even England got relegated, and France were dangerously close to joining them, remaining in the Nations League is still important, as unimportant as it may seem to some.
#1. Spain 1-1 Germany
2022 FIFA World Cup Group E Matchday 2
November 27, Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Having lost to Japan in their World Cup opener and facing a Spanish side who had steamrolled through theirs, Germany was facing a mountain to climb. Few were expecting a victory, and many were just hoping Germany would not be embarrassed too much.
But Germany lacked skill, not fight, and they brought a truckload of the latter on the pitch to Spain. The players fought hard and managed to hold a red-hot Spain attack to nothing by halftime. There was a scare when Alvaro Morata got the better of Niklas Süle and opened the scoring, but Germany were not going to back down. They kept peppering the goal, and eventually found a well deserved equalizer through national newbie Niclas Füllkrug. Again, only bad finishing and bad luck stood in the way of a German victory that would have seen them through to the knockout stages.
This is what is different about the current Germany. In the last World Cup, Germany looked devoid of answers, of methods, of anything, basically. But this time, Germany has definitely improved. As we all know, it ultimately was not enough, but it was very close to being enough. Although the squad is not as glorious as it was before, and although the coach needs to make some changes, there is still hope. We have seen that Germany has what it takes to keep up with other big name teams in the world. Now, it is all about maintaining that momentum and improving on it. Whether that hope will just be a glimmer or a flame is up to Hansi Flick, the DFB, the players, everyone. But if they continue on the right path, things may not be as bad as they seem. We shall see.
Whatever the case may be, though, Germany still showed fight this year. For the moment, that will have to do.