Gnabry scores but Germany lose – wins for Alaba and Perišić
Despite a Serge Gnabry goal to secure a half-time lead, Germany lost 4-2 to the Netherlands in a EURO 2020 qualifier in Hamburg on Friday evening. Gnabry opened the scoring in the ninth minute, before the visitors turned the game on its head through Frenkie de Jong (59) and an own goal from Jonathan Tah (66). Toni Kroos (73, pen) levelled, but in the 79th minute Donyell Malen restored the lead for the Dutch. In injury time, Giorginio Wijnaldum (91) settled the issue.
"We’re really disappointed with the defeat. We let them back into the game in the second half. We gave away cheap goals, that shouldn't happen to us," the clearly angry goalscorer said afterwards. Besides Gnabry, the other three FC Bayern pros - Manuel Neuer, Niklas Süle and Joshua Kimmich - were on the pitch for the entire 90 minutes, while Leon Goretzka had already left the squad due to injury. Germany now have nine points from four games and occupy second place in Group C behind Northern Ireland (12 points), but can catch up on Monday (20:45) in a head-to-head with the current group leaders.
Win for Alaba – Setback for Lewandowski
In Salzburg, another FCB man was able to celebrate three points in European Championship qualifying as David Alaba and his Austria teammates beat Latvia 6-0. Alaba played 90 minutes in attacking midfield and was an important contributor, but the goals were scored by Marko Arnautovic (7, 53), Marcel Sabitzer (13), a Pavel Steinbors own goal (76), Konrad Laimer (80) and Michael Gregoritsch (84).
In the parallel Group G fixture, Robert Lewandowski and Poland suffered a setback, losing 2-0 in Slovenia. The German record champions’ top striker had a handful of good chances, but was unable to force the ball over the line. Nevertheless, after five games, the Poles retain first place (12 points) ahead of Austria (9). On Monday (20:45), these two - and thus also Lewandowski and Alaba - face off in a direct duel in Warsaw.
Perišić scores in Croatia's victory
Ivan Perišić added his name to the scorer's list in a 4-0 victory for Croatia in Slovenia. Right at the start of the second period (46), the new Munich man seized possession, took aim from distance and - with the aid of a slight deflection - made the score 2-0 to the World Cup runners-up. Just before the break, Nikola Vlasic (45) gave the visitors the lead, Bruno Petkovic (72) and Dejan Lovren (89) rounding off the scoring. After four games, Perišić & Co. have nine points and are level with Hungary at the top of Group E. On Monday (18:00) the Croats meet Azerbaijan in Baku.