Created on 12-06-2016 at 22:50 PM
Germany with four FCB pros in the starting line-up made a successful start to the EURO 2016 on Sunday evening. However, the world champions struggled especially in the first half in the 2-0 victory over Ukraine. Captain Manuel Neuer made two stunning saves and was once rescued by Jérôme Boateng's spectacular goal line clearance. Centre-back Shkodran Mustafi handed Germany a 20th-minute lead with a powerful header, sub Bastian Schweinsteiger wrapped things up on the break in stoppage time.
“We have room to improve. We didn't live up to our full potential and we'll have to step up our game, hopefully in the next match against Poland,” Neuer commented after the final whistle. The FCB netminder was happy about Schweinsteiger's perfect comeback. “I hope he'll soon play from the start.”
Besides Neuer and Boateng, Thomas Müller featured in midfield and Mario Götze at centre-forward. Sunday's match came too early for Mats Hummels, who has resumed the squad programme after recovering from a torn hamstring. Despite gilt-edged chances for Ukraine Germany's victory was ultimately deserved. Joachim Löw's troops dominated possession and were the better team, especially in the second half. Kroos, Sami Khedira, Müller and Mesut Özil all had opportunities to add their names to the scoresheet.
Poland win with Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski and his Polish team-mates also won their first match. On Sunday Adam Nawalka's troops beat Northern Ireland 1-0. Ajax's Arkadiusz Milik scored the match-winner against very defensive Ulstermen early in the second half. Lewandowski played 90 minutes but foundered on the rock of Northern Ireland's defence.
Germany cross swords with Lewandowski & Co in Paris on Thursday at 21.00 CET. A victory would seal a last sixteen berth for either side.