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Match awards from Germany’s resilient 2-1 win against France

That’s better. Winning against the finalists of the 2022 World Cup feels good. Even if it is only a friendly.

Germany v France - International Friendly Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images

This is more like it. After an encouraging performance against a strong France side, the mood around Germany is a lot better than it was after the hideous 4-1 loss to Japan, which prompted Rudi Völler replacing Hansi Flick in the dugout. Naturally, such a resilient team performance required several outstanding individual performances. Which means there are a lot of good performances to choose from for these awards. Here are the match awards from Germany’s 2-1 win over France:

Jersey Swap: Aurélien Tchouaméni

The Real Madrid midfielder varied between snapping at Germany’s heels and settling in front of France’s defense to make his best impression of a giant brick wall. The elegant midfielder was smooth on the ball and sharp in the tackle, though he also proved a danger to Germany’s goal multiple times. Tchouaméni managed to be everywhere all at once in a tremendous display.

Der Kaiser: Antonio Rüdiger

He’s the kind of guy you want on your side in a bar fight, though he’s also quite useful on a football pitch as well. After an unusually timid display against Japan, which included him simply giving up in the build up to Japan’s third goal, Rüdiger was back to his ferocious best, hassling attackers, barging them over in ways that were somehow legal and stressing every Bayern fan out when he matched up against Kingsley Coman. A strong performance from Germany’s warrior at the back.

Fußballgott: Emre Can

Nobody truly excelled in midfield, but Emre Can was probably the best of the bunch. He was not that strong on the ball, but demonstrated intelligent defensive positioning and immaculate tackling, keeping his head when France upped their game and controlled proceedings to stave off any dangerous attacks. In the absence of Illkay Gündogan and Joshua Kimmich, Germany needed a leader who led by example in midfield and Can obliged. Special shoutout to Pascal Groß for being pushed into starting lineup at a moment’s notice and providing a solid, dependable performance.

Der Bomber: Thomas Müller

There were groans when Niclas Füllkrug got injured, with Germany’s one real striker injured, and more when Thomas Müller, who certainly is not a striker, got called up to replace him. So one can imagine the reaction to seeing him at striker here. But Müller adapted well, finding good pockets of space to hold up the ball and bring others into play. One would not have known that this is a player that has struggled for fitness and consistency for much of the season, with how he took charge of every situation and helped Germany assemble something resembling a solid attack. Oh, and he got a goal. That counts for something, right?

Meister of the Match: Leroy Sané

It had to be him. The most elegant player on the pitch, Leroy Sane posed problems to France’s defense all game. He was consistently trying, consistently probing, always finding new ways to get at the defense, running wide on the right, cutting inside, sliding a clever pass through to a teammate or just easing his way past an opponent. He was also the one to run through to score what turned out to be the match winner for Germany with a cool, controlled finish into the far corner. He also conceded a penalty in comically short time after his goal, but it was a single poor moment in a phenomenal match for Leroy Sané.

Looking for more Germany analysis? Take a journey back to the podcast episode for the Japan game that spelled the end for Hansi Flick! Listen to it below or on Spotify.

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