0-0 in Nations League opener
Thu, 06/09/18, 23:07
Goalless draw between Germany and France
Germany’s first match in the newly established UEFA Nations League competition ended in a 0-0 draw with world champions France. A sell-out crowd of 67,485 at the Allianz Arena watched a match in which the defences were largely on top, with no big chances for either side in the early stages. Joachim Löw’s side had the better opportunities in the second period and came closest to winning. Die Mannschaft are next in action on Sunday when they play Peru in a friendly (20:45 CEST), while Les Bleus play their second Nations League group game against the Netherlands at the same time.
In the first international since the World Cup in Russia, coach Löw included six Bayern players in his starting line-up. Mats Hummels and Jérôme Boateng formed the central defensive pairing in front of Manuel Neuer in a 4-1-4-1 formation. Joshua Kimmich started in the holding midfield role, with Leon Goretzka and Thomas Müller in front of him. France boss Didier Deschamps started with the same eleven who started in the World Cup final against Croatia with the exception of injured goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. Bayern’s Corentin Tolisso had to wait until the 86th minute for his introduction.
Germany were cautious to begin with against a side who are dangerous on the counter. Timo Werner had the first attempt on goal in the 18th minute with a low shot which was straight at goalkeeper Alphonse Areola. At the other end, Neuer saved a header from Olivier Giroud in the 35th minute, while a free-kick from Kylian Mbappé shortly before half-time was no trouble for the Bayern captain either.
France started the second half better and Antoine Griezmann tested Neuer early on. Germany’s number one denied Griezmann again in the 64th minute from a long-range effort. Marco Reus then had Germany’s best chance but his curling effort from the edge of the area was clawed away by Areola.
Soon after that, Hummels burst forward on the counter and crossed for Müller, who couldn’t get the ball out of his feet quickly enough and Areola then saved the follow-up effort from Hummels. That was the start of a German onslaught as Müller, Matthias Ginter, Werner and substitute Ilkay Gündogan all came close within the space of a few minutes. However, the Germans couldn’t find a way through and it ended goalless.