Bayer Leverkusen's Lucas Alario inspires Argentina fightback against Germany
Bayer Leverkusen forward Lucas Alario spearheaded an Argentina fightback against Germany, coming off the bench to score one and create another to cancel out goals from Serge Gnabry and Kai Havertz in a 2-2 draw in Dortmund on Wednesday.
GERMANY 2-2 ARGENTINA
GOALS: 1-0 Gnabry (15'), 2-0 Havertz (22'), 2-1 Alario (66'), 2-2 Ocampos (85')
A draw certainly did not appear to be on the cards in the first half, as a new-look Germany side - including Freiburg debutants Robin Koch and Luca Waldschmidt - wrestled control of the match. Gnabry and RB Leipzig's Lukas Klostermann had already combined well a couple of times down the right before linking up for the opener, the latter beating his marker and finding Gnabry, who finished smartly under pressure. The same duo were involved again minutes later, with Klostermann releasing Gnabry into space down the right and the Bayern Munich forward's precise cross was turned over the line by Havertz for his first international goal. Joachim Löw's men continued to dominate until the break, but Marcel Halstenberg's free-kick that hit the crossbar was as close as they came to extending their lead.
The match followed a similar pattern after the interval and there were presentable openings for Waldschmidt, Emre Can and Julian Brandt, but they were all unable to add to the scoreline. They would come to rue those misses, as Alario's introduction for Argentina midway through the half proved to be the turning point in the game. The Leverkusen hitman had only been on the pitch a few minutes when he pulled a goal back with an excellent header from 12 yards out. The 27-year-old had a couple more chances as the match wore on and was eventually rewarded for his persistence when, following a mazy run, he found Lucas Ocampos, whose first-time effort squeezed past Marc-Andre ter Stegen and into the net.
- Germany and Argentina have met in three FIFA World Cup finals. After losing 3-2 in Mexico in 1986, Die Mannschaft triumphed in Italy in 1990 and Brazil in 2014, on both occasions by a 1-0 scoreline.
- The two nations have now played each other 23 times. It's 10 wins for Argentina, eight for Germany and five draws.
- This was Germany's first meeting with La Albiceleste since September 2014. Two months after winning the World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro thanks to Mario Götze's extra-time stunner, Löw's men suffered a 4-2 friendly defeat in Düsseldorf.
- Gnabry has now netted six goals in six games for Germany in 2019, improving his international scoring record to a remarkable 10 goals in 11 appearances. The 24-year-old has also hit five in three matches for Bayern, including four in the 7-2 UEFA Champions League win over Tottenham.
Germany: Ter Stegen - Can, Süle, Koch - Klostermann, Kimmich (c), Havertz (Rudy 82'), Halstenberg - Gnabry (Serdar 71'), Waldschmidt, Brandt (Amiri 66')
Unused subs: Leno, Neuer, Gündogan, Reus
Out: Draxler (foot), Ginter (shoulder), Goretzka (thigh), Hector (muscular), Kehrer (foot), Kroos (thigh), Rüdiger (groin), Sane (cruciate ligament), Schulz (ankle), Tah (cold), Werner (illness), Stark (stomach bug)
Coach: Joachim Löw
Argentina: Marchesin - Foyth, Otamendi (c), Rojo (Acuna 46'), Tagliafico - Paredes - Pereyra (Saravia 76'), De Paul (Rodriguez 90'+2), A. Correa (Ocampos 46') - Dybala (Alario 62'), La. Martinez
Unused subs: E. Martinez, Musso, Kannemann, Pezzella, Dominguez, Lamela, Vargas
Out: Aguero (not selected), Andrada (Copa Libertadores), Armani (Copa Libertadores), J. Correa (muscular), Di Maria (not selected), Lo Celso (hip), Mac Allister (Copa Libertadores), Lu. Martinez (Copa Libertadores), Messi (suspended), Montiel (Copa Libertadores), Palacios (Copa Libertadores)
Coach: Lionel Scaloni
* Bundesliga players in bold
Watch: The top 5 Bundesliga goals by Argentinians
AS IT HAPPENED!
It's all over in Dortmund. Germany dominated for long spells of the game and deservedly went 2-0 up, but ultimately it was the introduction of Alario off the bench that changed the course of the match. The Leverkusen forward scored one and created another as La Albiceleste came back to claim a draw.
90+2' FINAL SUB FOR ARGENTINA
De Paul is replaced by Rodriguez.
89' STOPPAGE TIME APPROACHING
There will be two minutes of additional time.
85' ARGENTINA EQUALISE!
The visitors break forward and once again Alario is involved, going on a mazy run into the box. He can't get a shot away but finds a pass to Ocampos, whose first-time shot gets a deflection on its way past ter Stegen!
84' KIMMICH INTO THE WALL
Germany are given a free-kick in a promising position, about 30 yards out and over to the right. Kimmich's delivery isn't the best though, and it's headed clear by the wall.
83' RUDY FOR HAVERTZ
The Hoffenheim man comes on in midfield for Havertz, who had a very good game and crowned it with his first international goal.
81' GERMANY ON THE ROPES
An Argentina corner from the left cause havoc in Germany's box and it pinballs around, with nobody able to properly clear or get a shot away for what seems like an eternity. Eventually a white shirt manages to lump the ball to safety and Germany breathe a sigh of relief.
79' ALARIO AGAIN!
This time the striker is played in on the right. He jinks past ter Stegen's lunge and cuts the ball back across the six-yard box, but Can is on hand to hoof the ball clear.
78' ALARIO SO CLOSE!
A loose ball in Germany's box falls at the feet of Alario and the Leverkusen forward doesn't need an invitation to shoot. He gets a foot on it just before a defender, but his goal-bound effort is deflected just wide of the post.
76' NEXT SUB FOR ARGENTINA
Saravia comes on for Pereyra.
75' KIMMICH TAKES AIM
Germany are given a free-kick about 25 yards from goal, over on the left. Kimmich steps up to take it and whips a devilish ball at Marchesin's goal that the keeper does well to punch clear.
72' SERDAR MAKES GERMANY DEBUT
Löw makes his next substitution and takes off Gnabry, who was brilliant all game, and brings on Schalke midfielder Suat Serdar for his debut.
70' ARGENTINA BUOYED
That goal has visibly given Argentina a lift and they're playing a lot more confidently now. Paredes tests ter Stegen from distance with a swerving shot, but the former Gladbach keeper is equal to it.
66' AMIRI ON FOR BRANDT
Germany make their first change, which had been planned before Argentina score, with Leverkusen's Amiri coming on for his senior international debut.
66' ALARIO PULLS ONE BACK!
He's only been on the pitch a couple of minutes but already Alario's had an impact. He nips in between two Germany centre-backs to meet a cross from the right and guides a header past ter Stegen into the corner. Game on!
64' HALF CHANCE FOR MARTINEZ
The Argentina forward just beats Süle to a cross from the left, sticking out a leg to meet it. He can't get any power or direction on it though, and the ball goes harmlessly over.
62' ON COMES ALARIO
The Leverkusen forward replaces fellow attacker Dybala.
57' BRANDT HAS A GO
Brandt with a brilliant turn on the left-hand edge of the Argentina penalty area. He creates a yard of space for himself and shoots but it's straight at Marchesin, who makes a routine save.
55' TEXTBOOK COUNTER FROM GERMANY
The hosts very nearly get a third after a brilliant move on the break. In the space of two passes and just a couple of seconds, Germany go from defence to attack. Havertz has the ball on the right, draws his marker and slides a ball into the onrushing Can, who's powered forward from the back. He gets a shot away, but Marchesin manages to make the save.
53' GERMANY BACK ON TOP
Argentina's spell of pressure didn't last long and Germany's ability on the ball - with a number of players comfortable playing one-touch passes in tight situations - has swung momentum in their favour again. Argentina are looking far more compact at the back this half.
49' HIGH PRESS FROM ARGENTINA
The visitors are pushing much higher up than they did in the first half and are hounding the Germany players on the edge of ter Stegen's penalty area. Die Mannschaft are trying to play their way out of trouble with one-touch passing and do so with great skill, but Argentina are relentless at present and keep winning the ball back.
47' CLOSE FROM WALDSCHMIDT
Kimmich delivers a corner from the right deep to the back post. It falls at the feet of Waldschmidt, who lashes a shot into the side netting from a tight angle.
Germany kick-off the second period. Argentina made two changes at the break, bringing on Acuna for Rojo and Ocampos for Correa.
Well it's fair to say that Germany are good value for their lead, having dominated possession once they settled. Gnabry and Klostermann have been excellent and, apart from one shot from De Paul that hit the post, there hasn't been much attacking threat from Argentina yet.
44' GNABRY FIRES WIDE
A quickly taken free-kick catches Argentina napping and a free-kick form the left is floated towards the back post, where Gnabry has drifted beyond his marker. The Bayern forward controls it and smashes a shot at goal, but drags it just wide of the post.
41' GERMANY ALMOST THROUGH AGAIN
A quick one-touch move down the right unlocks Argentina's defence once again and this time Brandt has time to look up. He clocks Halstenberg sprinting in at the back post, but his pass to the Leipzig full-back is cut out by a desperate lunge. It would have been a simple tap-in for Halstenberg otherwise.
37' ARGENTINA BATTLING
The visitors haven't really been able to get into the game, so have seemingly adopted a more physical approach as a way of trying to get a foothold. They're now crunching into the tackles all over the pitch and Kimmich is on the receiving end of a painful looking kick form Pererya in the centre circle.
33' DE PAUL HITS THE POST!
Argentina reply in kind almost instantly as De Paul takes aim from about 25 yards. His shot arrows towards goal and beyond ter Stegen's dive, but crashes off the post and bounces away from danger.
31' HALSTENBERG HITS THE BAR!
Gnabry's shirt is pulled as he sprints forward, about 30 yards from goal. Germany are given a free-kick and Halstenberg lifts a brilliant effort over the wall and past Marchesin. It hits the frame of the upright though and Argentina can clear.
29' GERMANY DOMINATING
Die Mannschaft are looking dangerous whenever they get forward at present, with Argentina barely able to make it out of their own half. Klostermann and Gnabry are having a lot of joy down the right and most of Germany's best attacks involve that duo.
26' FREE-KICK FOR GERMANY
Lovely one and two-touch passing from the hosts, with Brandt showing some delightful skill in evading his markers. Eventually Otamendi shows his frustrating and hacks the Dortmund midfielder down.
From the ensuing free-kick, Süle meets the ball at the far post and heads back across goal towards Brandt, who's charging in. He narrowly misses out on prodding the ball over the line from close range, though.
22' GOAL! HAVERTZ GETS HIS FIRST INTERNATIONAL GOAL!
This is lovely stuff from Germany, and again Klostermann and Gnabry are involved. The former bursts forward in midfield and slides a pass into Gnabry's path down the right. He spies Havertz darting into the middle of the box and picks him out, leaving the Leverkusen playmaker with a simple tap-in!
15' GOAL! GNABRY BREAKS THE DEADLOCK!
Klostermann shows great determination to wriggle past Correa down the right before pulling a low cross back into the middle. There's still plenty for Gnabry to do, but the Bayern attacker shows a flash of genius, dinking the ball up to take two defenders out of the equation before flicking it deftly past the goalkeeper. A superb finish.
14' FIRST SHOT FROM BRANDT
Brandt latches on to a clever through ball in the inside-right channel and manages to get a shot away under pressure, but Marchesin makes a good save.
13' GNABRY JUST OFFSIDE
A lovely ball from deep by Kimmich releases Gnabry, this time down the left. He beats in marker to the ball and cuts into the box... but just as he shapes to shoot the whistle blows and he's pulled back for offside.
11' KIMMICH BOOKED
A tad overzealous from the captain in midfield there, up-ending Paredes from behind in the middle of the park. He duly goes into the referee's notebook.
9' GOOD BLOCK FROM CAN
Pereyra finds space on the right and floats a cross into the middle. Martinez looks like he's going to be first to it, but his attempted header is blocked by an excellent challenge from Can.
7' PROMISING FROM GERMANY
There's a murmur of excitement from the crowd for the first time this game as Havertz jinks away from his man in midfield and dinks a lovely ball forward for Gnabry to chase down the right. The Bayern attacker cuts inside, but just runs out of pitch as he tries to dribble past a defender, and the ball goes out for a goal kick. Encouraging that the home team managed to get in behind their visitors, though.
4' CAGEY OPENING
Both teams are largely trying to play a possession-based game, although Germany aren't averse to also pinging the odd long ball forward. The match is yet to really settle, though, with plenty of turnovers in midfield and attacks petering out.
2' NO FORMATION CHANGE FOR GERMANY
Stark's last-gasp absence has not changed Löw's mind in terms of his formation, with Juventus midfielder Emre Can slotting in on the right side of a three-man backline, with Kimmich staying in central midfield in a 3-4-3 line-up.
Here we go! Argentina get the ball rolling at Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park.
The players are out on the pitch and lined up for the national anthems. We'll be under way very shortly!
With no Messi, Di Maria or Aguero this time, Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni has wisely gone for experience over youthful exuberance against Germany. Otamendi (31), Rojo (29) and Pereyra (28) all boast considerable know-how in defensive positions, while in Dybala, Martinez and Correa they have dangerous players in the final third.
TWO NEWCOMERS ON THE BENCH
In addition to Koch and Waldschmidt, two more players could be handed their Germany debuts in this game: Leverkusen's Nadiem Amiri and Schalke's Suat Serdar.
"It's a dream come true," the latter told the official DFB website of his call-up. "We want to show what we can do while we're here, learn a lot and make a good impression so that we can be part of the coach's plans in the future."
DEBUTS FOR FREIBURG PAIR
Luca Waldschmidt and Robin Koch, both key cogs in Freiburg's best-ever start to a Bundesliga season, have been rewarded for their performances with starting debuts for Germany.
Koch will slot in alongside Süle at centre-back, while Waldschmidt will start as part of a three-pronged attack with Gnabry and Brandt.
It's a big night for the Bayern Munich man, who will lead Germany out as skipper for the first time ever here.
The 24-year-old has worn the captain's armband in previous games, notably at the 2017 Confederations Cup, but only did so having been given it by somebody getting substituted off.
Rotten luck for Hertha Berlin defender Niklas Stark, who was widely tipped to get his first international start here, but he'll play no part due to a stomach bug.
As such, and given the absences of fellow centre-backs Jonathan Tah, Matthias Ginter and Antonio Rüdiger, head coach Joachim Löw looks set to revert to a 4-3-3 formation, rather than playing three at the back. That would have Koch and Süle in the middle, with Leipzig full-backs Klostermann and Halstenberg on the right and left respectively.
HELLO AND WELCOME!
We're in for a treat this evening as two star-studded sides go head-to-head in a mouth-watering clash in Dortmund. There are notable absentees on both sides, but there's still plenty for firepower for this fixture to pack a powerful punch. Stay with us for build-up and in-game coverage!
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