Bayern Munihc's Serge Gnabry shows his frustration after Germany fell behind against Japan. - © Getty Images / Christof Koepsel
Bayern Munihc's Serge Gnabry shows his frustration after Germany fell behind against Japan. - © Getty Images / Christof Koepsel

Germany 1-4 Japan: As it happened!


Bochum's Takuma Asano was among those on the scoresheet as Japan recorded a 4-1 friendly win over Germany in Wolfsburg.

As it happened!

1 - 4

(1 - 2)

International Volkswagen Arena, Wolfsburg

Full-time: Germany 1-4 Japan

Germany are well beaten in Wolfsburg, with Japan proving to be much more incisive and clinical. They will be hoping for better fortunes when they play France on Tuesday evening.
End of second half
+ 2

Four for Japan

The scoreline gets even worse for Germany, with Kubo setting up a cross with some great play on the right and feeding Dusseldorf's Tanaka to head past Ter Stegen.
+ 2

Ao Tanaka


Ao Tanaka

Asano seals the win for Japan

Japan expose Germany on the break with Kubo racing free of the backline. He has all the time he needs to take the ball on goal and slot across for Bochum's Asano to tap in for Japan's third goal.

Takuma Asano


Takuma Asano

Sane clips cross in

A testing delivery from Sane from the right - but Osako gathers before Gundogan can reach it.

Gosens crosses

A decent ball is played in from the Union Berlin left-back, but it is cleared. Süle has a go with the back of his head shortly afterwards but the Japanese goalkeeper saves.

Rüdiger heads wide

The defender meets a corner but heads the ball wide of the target.

Kimmich whips free-kick in

Germany get a set piece in a dangerous position near the right corner of the penalty area. Kimmich's delivery is headed clear with ease.

Still probing

Ilkay Gündogan tries to slot a ball through the defence, but it's blocked. Germany have seen 66% of possession but Japan have created more chances (11 to 9).

Two more changes

Four replacements have been made by Hansi Flick now, but it remains to be seen if Germany can apply enough late pressure to rescue a result.

Ter Stegen saves again

The Barecelona goalkeeper has kept Germany in this. He pulls off another solid stop to deny Asano, who has time and space to aim on target, and then denies Mitoma on the rebound.

Yellow card


Debut man

Brighton's Pascal Gross, once of Hoffenheim, makes his first Germany appearance at the age of 32.



Sane bursts in from the right

The Bayern attacker cuts the ball in. Schlotterbeck goes to ground under a challenge in the box when trying to pounce, but no penalty is awarded.

Mitoma chance

Japan then go and threaten on their first attack in a while, with Mitoma cracking a shot in from the left that Ter Stegen can cling onto.

Great passing but few chances

Germany have 62% of possession so far. They play a great number of passes around the edge of the box so far, but don't get any opening apart from a Sane shot blocked from outside the area.

Germany walking a fine line

Germany keep the ball well for a couple of minutes. There isn't any great urgency about their attacking, but something they are no doubt bearing in mind is if they push forward in numbers, Japan have what it takes to pose a major threat on the break.

Yellow card


Another big Ueda chance

Ter Stegen does well to race out and stop the Japanese attacker. The ball then lands at the feet of Morita, who slots wide from the edge of the box with the German goalkeeper grounded.

Gnabry tries to weave through

The Bayern attack tries to wind his way past a couple of Japanese defenders, but can't quite manage that. Schlotterbeck picks up the attack and wins a corner that Kimmich sends to Süle to head over.

We're back in action

Japan go on the attack straight away - with Ito curling a shot wide after just 16 seconds of the second half.

Half-time: Germany 1-2 Japan

Germany are behind at the break despite a goal from in-form Leroy Sane. Japan have been strong and purposeful opponents - Germany will seek to step up a gear in the second period to get a result.

Sane blocked

Germany have a chance to break with Sane played through and chasing the ball across to the left to set up a shot. Tomiyasu runs across to block his effort and turn the ball behind for a corner that comes to nothing.

Ter Stegen denies Ueda

What a save! Japan appeared destined to make it 3-1 when Ueda won the ball off Rüdiger and had the chance to bear down all alone on Ter Stegen's goal. The Barcelona shot stopper held his nerve and reached out an arm to stop the Japanese attacker's effort.

Ito turns it in

Japan launch a neat attack on their first chance to threaten for a while. Ito gets it high up on the right and turns the ball in but ter Stegen gathers with ease.

Japan dropping back

Germany have been passing the ball around well and looking for ways through the visitors' defence. They are putting numbers back and remain organised enough to keep Germany out for now while posing a potential threat on the break.

Sane sends a super ball in

That was a chance to level it! Sane twists this way and that on the right before slipping a wonderful ball right through the middle of the area. Gündogan can't quite react in time to meet it when he was just in front of goal.

Sane to Wirtz

Some good attacking play from Germany as Sane clips a pass in from the right for Wirtz, who takes aim straight away but sends the ball over. It's been a very open first half with everything to play for!

Japan threaten again

The men in blue are finding loads of space down their right flank. Ito gets it down the line and turns the ball in, but it is cleared this time.

Chance for Sane to make his mark?

The Bayern man has three goals so far this season in three Bundesliga matches. He has a chance to take that strong early-season form into his national team as Germany look to level again.

Yellow card


Japan back in front

What a few minutes of football - and another blow for Germany. Sugawara sets it up down Japan's right again, cutting the ball back for Ito, who ends up scuffing a perfect assist for Ayase Ueda to turn in with his first touch.

Ayase Ueda


Ayase Ueda

Sane strikes back for Germany

The Japanese lead lasts less than ten minutes as a fluent German attack sees Gündogan finding Wirtz just outside the penalty area. The Leverkusen youngster plays it to his right for Sane to chase onto and convert cooly with a well-placed drive inside the far post.

Leroy Sané


Leroy Sané

Ito effort saved

The goalscorer raced behind the defence and snapped a shot on target that ter Stegen reacted to well to save at the near post. The offside flag went up so it wouldn't have counted.

Junya Ito


Junya Ito

Goal for Japan

That wasn't quite in the script. The visitors take the lead as a cross from the right from Sugawara is met by Ito at the near post and diverted past ter Stegen.

Japan corner

The visitors have got more into the game after Germany's good opening minutes, and win a corner that leads to an Endo shot - with the former Stuttgart man firing well over the bar.

Schlotterbeck header saved

Germany enjoy a good early spell of pressure with some quick pressing leading to a corner. It is whipped to the far post by Kimmich and Schlotterbeck sends a looping header on target that the Japanese goalkeeper saves.

Free-kick to Germany

Kimmich has raced forward from his right-back position and is fouled just on the right corner of the penalty area. His Bayern team-mate Sane strikes it but it hits the wall.

Off we go

With nine months until Euro 2024 starts, these kind of friendly matches are getting more important for Germany - and it should be a great test tonight against Japan.

Time for the anthems

We start with the Japanese national anthem - the match will kick off very shortly.

Flick on Kimmich's new right-back role

The Germany coach has confirmed the positional switch for the Bayern man, saying: "He is moving to help the team. We are pleased that he will be able to offer his qualities from that position too."

Captain Gündogan

The big news in the build-up is of Ilkay Gündogan taking over as Germany captain with Hansi Flick indicating that he wanted to adapt his system to give the Barcelona midfielder a key role. That has led also to the expectation that Joshua Kimmich will be switched to a full-back role. We'll get to see when it kicks off in 10 minutes just how effective the new idea will be!

Pitch inspection

Kimmich, Hofmann and Gosens (from left) check out the conditions at the Volkswagen Arena prior to kick-off.

More on those teams

Will Flick stick with three at the back as he did in the last international break, or will he revert to a flat back four, with Joshua Kimmich dropping from central midfield to the right-back slot? Elsewhere, Florian Wirtz starts ahead of the recalled Thomas Müller in what is an attack-minded line-up.

Japan starting XI

Osako - Tomiyasu, Itakura, Suguwara, H. Ito - J. Ito, Endo (c), Morita - Kamada, Ueda, Mitoma

Japan subs

Ko. Nakamura, Schmidt, Taniguchi, Doan, Furuhashi, Ke. Nakamura, A. Ito, Tanaka, Asano, Hashioka, Kubo, Machida, Morishita, Maeda, Maikuma

Germany subs

Trapp, Baumann, Thiaw, Tah, F. Nmecha, Schade, Müller, Henrichs, Brandt, Hofmann, Gosens, Groß

Germany starting XI

Ter Stegen - Süle, Rüdiger, Schlotterbeck - Kimmich, Can, Gündogan (c) - Sane, Wirtz, Havertz - Gnabry


Germany have struggled to show their true colours of late, suffering defeats against Belgium, Poland and Colombia and three of their last four friendlies, while drawing 3-3 with Ukraine in the other. They can take heart from their last four-game winless spell under Hansi Flick, however: following consecutive 1-1 draws between March and June last year, Germany ended that run with a 5-2 thumping of Italy in the Nations League.

Watch: The best action from Germany's Bundesliga-based players

As many as seven Japanese players are currently adding to the excitement of the Bundesliga, with the nation holding a special footballing link with Germany that has seen several high profile international players pass through the division down through the years. Come with us as we explore a footballing bond that goes back decades.

Japan's Bundesliga core that defeated Germany at the World Cup

Germany took on Japan in their opening game of the 2022 World Cup last November and came unstuck against a team boasting eight Bundesliga-based players, with Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano stunning their adopted home country. We took a look back at the core of Samurai Blue player plying their trade in Germany who helped down the four-time world champions.

Watch: The best of Japanese players in the Bundesliga this season



Willkommen and konnichi wa to live coverage of Germany's international friendly against Japan in Wolfsburg on Saturday, 9 September. Kick-off at the Volkswagen Arena is at 8.45pm CEST.

Match stats

  • The returning Müller is the most-capped player in the squad with 122. He also has 44 goals and 40 assists since his debut in 2010.
  • At the other end of that spectrum, former Ingolstadt man Pascal Groß (Brighton) made his debut.
  • Füllkrug has been Germany's most potent attacking force in 2023 with four goals. He was joint-top scorer in the Bundesliga last season with 16.
  • Germany were ranked five places higher than Japan in the latest FIFA World Ranking (15th vs. 20th). They have previously spent 1,148 days at No.1.
  • This was only the fourth meeting between the two nations, with one draw and one win apiece previously.
  • Five Japan players ply their trade in Germany in Itakura (Gladbach), Ito (Stuttgart), Takuma Asano (Bochum), Ritsu Doan (Freiburg) and Ao Tanaka (Fortuna Düsseldorf).

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Germany: Ter Stegen - Kimmich, Süle, Rüdiger, Schlotterbeck (Gosens 64') - Can (Groß 64'), Gündogan (c) - Sane, Wirtz (Brandt 73'), Havertz (Müller 73') - Gnabry (Schade 81')
Unused subs: Trapp, Baumann, Thiaw, Tah, F. Nmecha, Henrichs, Hofmann
Out: Füllkrug (knock), Musiala (back)
Coach: Hansi Flick

Japan: Osako - Tomiyasu, Itakura, Suguwara (Hashioka 84'), H. Ito - J. Ito (Kubo 75'), Endo (c), Morita (Tanaka 75') - Kamada (Taniguchi 59'), Ueda (Asano 59'), Mitoma (Doan 84')
Unused subs: Ko. Nakamura, Schmidt, Furuhashi, Ke. Nakamura, A. Ito, Machida, Morishita, Maeda, Maikuma
Out: -
Coach: Hajime Moriyasu