Thomas Müller came off the bench to help Germany come from behind to beat Romania 2-1 in FIFA World Cup qualifying after Serge Gnabry had levelled proceedings in Hamburg.
Germany 2-1 Romania
Goals: 0-1 Hagi (9’), 1-1 Gnabry (52’), 2-1 Müller (81’)
Germany thought they had a penalty inside seven minutes when former RB Leipzig and VfB Stuttgart forward Timo Werner was brought down in the box. Captain for the night Joshua Kimmich was ready to take during a long VAR review before the referee overturned his original decision. Romania then went straight up the other end and took the lead through an excellent solo goal by Ianis Hagi as he slalomed his way into the box. Hansi Flick’s side remained very much on the front foot and ended the first half with 75 per cent possession. Gnabry was the principal threat with several half chances but Germany failed to find a way through a compact Romanian defence.
The visitors started the second half brightly but Die Mannschaft got the crucial next goal when Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus teed up Gnabry to hit one from the edge of the box and the Bayern Munich man found the far bottom corner. The game continued to follow a similar pattern as the first half with Germany dominating proceedings but clear-cut chances at a premium. That was until the most experienced member of the squad, Müller, came on and did what he’s done so often for club and country, ghosting into space unmarked and turning in Leon Goretzka’s flick-on at a corner. Germany move onto 18 points from seven games and stretch their lead at the top of Group J to six ahead of North Macedonia, who Flick’s side visit next on Monday, 11 October.
- Gnabry brought up his 20th international goal in only his 30th senior appearance for Germany, as well as contributing six assists.
- He’s got four goals in as many games under Flick.
- Only fellow Bayern midfielder Leon Goretzka (five assists) has had more goal involvements in the Flick era.
- Müller made his 107th international appearance. Only six players have represented Germany on more occasions. His goal was his 40th for Die Mannschaft.
- In Florian Wirtz, Jamal Musiala, Karim Adeyemi and Nico Schlotterbeck, Flick has called up four players still eligible for Germany's U21s.
- Germany maintained their perfect record since Flick succeeded Joachim Löw as coach with four games played, four won, 14 goals scored, and only one conceded.
Germany: Ter Stegen – Hofmann (Klostermann 85’), Süle, Rüdiger, Kehrer - Kimmich (c), Goretzka - Gnabry, Reus (Havertz 67’), Sane - Werner (Müller 67’)
Unused subs: Leno, Schlotterbeck, Ginter, Musiala, Neuhaus, Adeyemi, Raum, Wirtz
Out: Neuer (groin)
Coach: Hansi Flick
Romania: Nita – Rus, Chiriches (c), Burca (Manea 50’) – Ratiu, Stanciu (Albu 82’), Marin, Tosca – Hagi (Maxim 60’), Puscas (Mitrita 82’), Mihaila (Ivan 60’)
Unused subs: Vlad, Aioani, Cicaldau, Bancu, Keseru, Cordea, Morutan
Coach: Mirel Radoi
As it happened
Four minutes of it.
MÜLLER DOES IT!
The supersub has Germany ahead! Goretzka flicks on a corner from the right and Müller has ghosted into space and has the simplest job of turning it in at the far post to give the home side the lead.
HAVERTZ GETS THERE...
It's the former Bayer Leverkusen youngster who gets to it with his head just ahead of Nita. The goalkeeper gets a glove to it without realising and putting it behind, but the referee doesn't spot the touch and gives a goal-kick.
Ivan bundles over Kehrer on the left corner of the box. Kimmich is standing over the dead ball.
Kehrer overhits a cross from the left but Gnabry does well to recover it and cut it back again for Sane, but he blasts over inside the box.
Great reception for Thomas Müller as he comes on with Kai Havertz. The Bayern man is earning his 107th cap to move one ahead of Manuel Neuer and Toni Kroos. He's now one behind Jürgen Klinsmann.
20 goals in 30 senior caps for Gnabry
© Martin Rose/Getty Images
Hofmann cuts the ball back after his drive forward from right-back. Reus is coming from deep and gets onto it in a central position but can only put it over the bar.
Romania had made a bright start but it's Germany who strike to level things up. The ball makes its way across the edge of the box from the left before Gnabry lets fly into the far bottom corner. Five goals in seven matches of qualifying for the Bayern man.
The visitors are sticking with their counter-attacking game and almost hit Germany again, but Niklas Süle just gets a foot in to prevent a tap-in for Puscas in the six-yard box.
UNDER WAY AGAIN
No changes for either side at the break.
The captain for the night has a crack from the edge of the box but it's a stop for Nita on the bounce.
A late corner for Romania is met by the head of Rus, but Goretzka is in the way to deflect it away from danger.
The visitors fail to clear their lines and the ball sits nicely for the Germany centre-back to hit. Dragged wide, though.
Three minutes of it at the end of the half.
The Bayern man drives forward through the middle and fires off a quick effort on his left foot. Nita is scrambling and relieved as the ball bends just a few inches wide of his near post.
The Volksparkstadion crowd has increased their volume and it looks to be having an impact on the pitch with the players trying to shift it up a gear.
Kimmich slices the Romania defence in half with a through ball for Gnabry on the right. He looks to be trying to square it - and Nita is expecting that so edging off his line - but seems to mistime it and almost slice it into an unguarded goal, but Nita recovers his footing in time to dive back and hold.
A clipped cross into the box from the inside right is let go by Sane and sits up nicely for Reus at the far post. He hits it on the half volley but Nita has his angles covered to parry it away.
WERNER IN BEHIND...
The former Stuttgart and Leipzig man is in behind the Romanian defence on the left. There's no offside flag and he looks to square for Reus, but the run isn't into the path of the ball in the centre.
Up to 68% possession for Germany so far. It will be a game of patience for them.
A deep corner from the right is put back into the middle by Goretzka as players are starting to push out. Gnabry ends up free in the six-yard box and flicks it on with his head, but straight into the arms of the grateful Nita.
SIT AND WAIT
It's Germany seeing all the ball and trying to play their way through this compact five-man Romanian defence, but the visitors are looking a real threat on the counter and are getting forward at pace whenever the opportunity presents itself.
PIN BALL!Almost an equaliser for Germany in scrappy fashion. Reus's ball across the box is knocked onto Gnabry by goalkeeper Nita. An attempted clearance then bounces off Werner and back to Gnabry on the floor, but he can't quite get what he digs out as a shot on target.
© Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
TEST FOR GERMANY
It's the first time Flick's Germany have gone behind in a game or even conceded a goal. This is where we'll see what the former Bayern coach can do with the national team.
Boosted by that change of decision, the visitors go up the other end and Hagi slaloms his way through three German defenders before putting the ball past Ter Stegen into the far corner. Father Gheorghe will have been proud of that goal.
That was a long, long check by the Turkish referee before deciding to reverse his decision.
Joshua Kimmich is ready to take the penalty but has been made to wait for almost a minute while the referee converses with VAR. He's now been called to take a second look on the monitor.
Timo Werner is caught from behind by Andrei Burca and referee Cuneyt Cakir points to the spot.
There's a great sign being held up in the stands of the Volksparkstadion asking Hansi Flick where Simon Terodde is? The Schalke striker has got 11 goals in just nine Bundesliga 2 games this season to equal the division's all-time record of 153 goals.
First effort of the game comes from Romania's Alin Tosca, but his volley from the edge of the box is dragged well wide.
A good five minutes ahead of kick-off, the team teams are out at the Volksparkstadion for the national anthems.
GERMANY’S WUNDERKIDSFlick has named a side that is mostly experienced at international level. There was debate over whether we might see Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala from the start tonight after their excellent early-season form, but we'll have to make do with potential appearances from the bench. There’s some serious competition in their positions within the Germany squad, but they’re most certainly the future.
TER STEGEN’S CHANCENeuer’s absence presents Marc-Andre ter Stegen with a chance tonight. It’s the former Gladbach goalkeeper’s first cap under Flick and his first since the shock 2-1 defeat to North Macedonia in March.
© Martin Rose/Getty Images
CAPTAIN KIMMICHThe Bayern midfielder has been handed the armband tonight in Manuel Neuer’s absence. It’s a real sign of faith from coach Hansi Flick and possibly a clue as to the line of succession. It’s the third time the 26-year-old has led out his country. He first did it in a friendly against Argentina in October 2019 and most recently in the win over Liechtenstein in September.
© Frank Hoermann / SVEN SIMON via www.imago-images.de/imago images/Sven Simon
Hansi Flick has made two changes from the 4-0 win in Iceland a month ago. One is enforced with captain Manuel Neuer out because of a groin injury and replaced by Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Joshua Kimmich has been handed the armband for the night. And the other change sees Marco Reus come in for Ilkay Gündogan.
Vlad, Aioani, Manea, Albu, Ivan, Cicaldau, Maxim, Bancu, Keseru, Cordea, Mitrita, Morutan
Nita – Rus, Chiriches (c), Burca – Ratiu, Stanciu, Marin, Tosca – Hagi, Puscas, Mihaila
Leno, Schlotterbeck, Ginter, Havertz, Müller, Musiala, Klostermann, Neuhaus, Adeyemi, Raum, Wirtz
Ter Stegen - Hofmann, Süle, Rüdiger, Kehrer - Kimmich (c), Goretzka - Gnabry, Reus, Sane - Werner
Welcome along to coverage of Germany's FIFA World Cup qualifier against Romania in Hamburg.