Germany held to draw on Müller's century
When Thomas Müller stepped onto the pitch in the 67th minute in front of 42,186 fans at Schalke’s Veltins-Arena, it marked a landmark occasion in the FC Bayern man’s Germany career as he won his 100th international cap. However, the 2010 Golden Boot winner and his side were unable to see out 2018 in style as they conceded two late goals.
Despite holding a 2-0 lead for most of the game against the Netherlands thanks to early goals from Timo Werner and Leroy Sane, the four-time world champions were pegged back late by strikes from Quincy Promes and Virgil van Dijk to deny Germany what looked like a comfortable win.
Joachim Löw started with his core of Bayern players, including Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels, Niklas Süle, Joshua Kimmich and Serge Gnabry, and also brought on Müller and Leon Goretzka later on. The Germany coach saw an eager and convincing performance from his side in the early stages, and Werner quickly put the home side ahead after nine minutes. After good build-up play from Gnabry, who played the ball through to the Leipzig man with the outside of his boot before the striker powered home from the edge of the box.
It wasn’t long before the ball hit the back of the Dutch net again when Sane tucked home after a fine long ball from former FCB midfielder Toni Kroos. It remained 2-0 in the first half in which the visitors were barely seen despite pushing for a place in the finals of the UEFA Nations League. Werner could have wrapped up the three points on the hour mark after more good play from Gnabry but was denied by goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen on the counter.
Substitute Müller’s best action of the game came within inches of making it 3-0 with 15 minutes remaining, but his chip in behind the visitors’ defence was wasted by Marco Reus as he failed to pick out Sane in space. However, the game then took a turn as the Dutch struck back through Promes in the 85th minute before Van Dijk netted a surprising equaliser in injury time.
Germany had already been relegated from League A of the Nations League prior to the match and must now wait and see who they’ll face in the Euro 2020 qualifiers when the draw is made in Dublin on 2 December. Should Poland beat Portugal on Tuesday night, Germany will drop out of Pot 1 for the draw.
Germany line-up: Neuer – Süle, Hummels, Rüdiger – Kehrer, Kimmich, Kroos, Schulz – Werner (Reus 63’), Gnabry (Müller 67'), Sane (Goretzka 80’)