Germany warmed up for their UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier against the Netherlands with an encouraging performance as Leon Goretzka cancelled out Luka Jovic’s opener for Serbia in Wednesday’s friendly in Wolfsburg.
GERMANY 1-1 SERBIA
GOALS: 0-1 Jovic (12'), 1-1 Goretzka (69’)
Red card: Pavkov (90+2)
Germany handed a debut to RB Leipzig full-back Lukas Klostermann and he had an effort deflected wide as the home team made a bright start. It was the visitors who broke the deadlock, however, when a corner broke kindly for Eintracht Frankfurst striker Jovic to head home from six yards out. Germany had a good chance to level when Kai Havertz played Timo Werner through but Serbia goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic made a sharp save. Klostermann then made a brilliant block to deny Jovic another goalscoring opportunity, before the debutant got on the end of a delightful Joshua Kimmich pass to create a chance for Havertz. The Leverkusen man couldn’t get a clean connection, but his shot fell to Werner who was denied by a great reaction stop from Dmitrovic at point-blank range. Adem Ljajic then fired over, wasting a glorious opportunity to give Serbia a two-goal cushion at half-time.
Joachim Löw sent on in-form Borussia Dortmund skipper Marco Reus at the break, but Serbia’s Darko Lazovic blazed off target from the first real opening after the restart. Approaching the hour mark, though, Reus showed tremendous skill to turn his man inside-out only to be thwarted once more by Dmitrovic. Soon afterwards, Leroy Sane’s header lacked the power to beat the Serbian netminder, and when Gündogan finally did find a way past Dmitrovic, his effort was somehow cleared off the line by Nikola Maksimovic. Germany’s pressure finally paid off, however, when Reus picked out fellow substitute Goretzka, and the Bayern Munich midfielder sidestepped his man before smashing home from just inside the area. Sane drew another two saves from Dmitrovic before Milan Pavkovic was sent off in injury-time for an ugly challenge on the Manchester City player. The lively Reus also dragged wide before the end in what was a particularly promising second-half display for Germany ahead of Sunday’s opening qualifying match against the Dutch in Amsterdam.
- Goretzka now has seven goals in 20 games for Germany
- Germany have now won 17 of their 29 meetings with Serbia, drawing four and losing eight.
- In Maximilian Eggestein, Niklas Stark and Klostermann, Germany have three players who could have made their debut. Only the Leipzig full-back did.
- Toni Kroos is the most capped player in the Germany squad with 91. Neuer is now six back, while 10 players have less than 10 senior international outings.
- Serbia striker Jovic has scored 22 goals in all competitions for Frankfurt this season, 15 of them coming in the Bundesliga.
- Jovic, compatriots Mijat Gacinovic and Filip Kostic, and Germany goalkeeper Kevin Trapp are teammates at the Commerzbank Arena.
Germany: Neuer (c) (ter Stegen HT) – Klostermann (Kehrer 90’), Süle, Tah, Halstenberg – Kimmich, Havertz (Reus HT), Gündogan – Sane Schulz (90+6), Werner, Brandt (Goretzka 56’)
Unused subs: Trapp, Ginter, Eggestein, Gnabry, Kroos, Rüdiger, Stark
Coach: Joachim Löw
Serbia: Dmitrovic – Rukavina, Spajic, Milenkovic, Bogosavic (S. Mitorivic 80’) – Maksimovic (Jovicic 88’) – Milinkovic-Savic (Lukic 63’), Gacinovic (Radonjic 63’) – Lazovic (Zivkovic 79’), Ljajic, Jovic (Pavkov 70’)
Unused subs: Rajkovic, Vasiljevic, Miletic, , Veljkovic
Coach: Mladen Krstajic
AS IT HAPPENED
It's all over. Germany will be the more frustrated of the two sides after dominating the majority of the match, but they simply couldn't finish off a number of chances. Serbia were dangerous on the break, especially in the first half, and went ahead through a goal from Luka Jovic.
90+5' SCHULZ ON
Hoffenheim's Nico Schulz comes on for Sane.
90+3' PAVKOV SENT OFF
Serbia will finish the match with 10 men after Pavkov is sent off for a nasty looking tackle on Sane, who receives treatment for a few moments on the pitch before limping gingerly off.
90' KEHRER FOR KLOSTERMANN
The Leipzig debutant is taken off with what looks like a calf injury after slipping during a challenge, so former Schalke defender Thilo Kehrer comes on in his place.
88' NEXT SUB FOR SERBIA
Maksimovic is replaced by Jovicic.
86' GORETZKA CLOSE AGAIN
Kimmich jinks his way down the right and dinks an inviting ball into the middle. Goretzka rises highest to meet it and attempts to guide his header towards the back post. He gets too much on it, though, and the ball goes well wide.
83' GERMANY FREE-KICK
Sane is fouled after a mazy run forward and wins a free-kick 30 yards out in a central position. Reus takes it but, for once, his delivery isn't up to standard and Serbia clear.
77' SANE FRUSTRATED ONCE MORE
Sane dribbles down the right, cuts inside onto his left again and smacks a swerving effort at goal from distance. He hits it well enough to trouble Dmitrovic, who dives to his left and palms the ball around the post.
73' DMITROVIC AGAIN!
Sane drives into the box on the right, cuts inside onto his preferred left foot and looks certain to score from 12 yards out, but Dmitrovic makes another superb save.
70' JOVIC OFF
Serbia goalscorer Jovic is substituted off, to be replaced by Pakov.
69' GERMANY EQUALISE!
Germany's pressure finally takes its toll as Reus skips to the byline down the left and pulls the ball back to the edge of the area. Goretzka jinks past his marker and rifles the ball into the net.
65' HOW ARE GERMANY NOT LEVEL?!
Die Mannschaft have two gilt-edged chances in quick succession as first Halstenberg's cross finds Sane unmarked, eight yards out. He doesn't make a good connection with his header, though, and Dmitrovic saves. Moments later, Gündogan's acceleration takes him past the last defender and into the box. He goes around Dmitrovic and only needs to tap into the empty net. He's on his weaker left foot, slightly off balance and it's a tight angle, all of which contribute to a weak shot that is clear off the line when it looked to be a certain goal.
63' SUBSTITUTIONS FOR SERBIA
The visitors make a double substitution, with Lukic and Radonjic on for
Gacinovic and Milinkovic-Savic.
59' CHANCE FOR REUS
Reus with a glorious chance to equalise after Germany win possession high up the pitch from a Serbia throw-in. The Dortmund star skips past his marker in the box and shots from 10 yards out, but Dmitrovic makes a brilliant save and tips it over the bar.
56' GORETZKA ON
Germany make their third change of the game as Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka takes Brandt's place.
52' GERMANY PUSHING
The hosts are on top again in this half and are getting forward with greater pace and purpose. Their one-touch passing in midfield is opening up plenty of space, but the final ball has been too inaccurate.
47' REUS TO THE FORE
He's only been on the pitch a few seconds but Reus is already making mischief. First he latches on to a clever flick from Sane, bursting into the box and trying to find Werner. His attempted cross is cut out but the rebound falls at his feet again - but once more his ball into the middle is cleared.
Here we go again. Germany have made two changes at the break, with Marco Reus on for Havertz and Marc-Andre ter Stegen replacing Neuer in goal.
Germany have been the better side so far, enjoying more of the ball and playing much of the first 45 minutes in Serbia's half, but they haven't been able to add a finishing touch to a number of promising chances.
The visitors, on the other hand, were clinical with their first opportunity of the match, and have had two or three more chances to extend their lead on the counter.
44' SERBIA GO CLOSE AGAIN!
A free-kick into Germany's box causes havoc and bounces kindly for Milenkovic inside the six-yard box. Just as he's shaping to shoot, Tah slides in with a last-ditch tackles to clear the danger.
41' HOW DID THAT NOT GO IN - PART II?
Serbia should be 2-0 up. Germany's defence is carved open and suddenly Ljajic has the ball, completely unmarked and with just Neuer to beat, 10 yards from goal. But he rushes his shot and blazes it high over the bar - a huge let-off for the hosts.
37' HOW DID THAT NOT GO IN?
Klostermann gets behind the Serbia defence on the right and pulls the ball back from the byline to Havertz. He miscues his shot but it falls to Werner, unmarked at the back post. He looks certain to score, but somehow Milenkovic gets a toe on the ball and deflects the ball wide for a corner.
33' GERMANY GETTING CLOSER
Werner again plays a cross into the box from the right. This he finds Klostermann, who glances an effort just wide of the far post.
29' SANE ON FIRE
Former Schalke winger Leroy Sane skips past two challenges in midfield, accelerating to the edge of the Serbia box. He plays it out to the right to Werner, who's attempted cross to the back post is just cut out.
25' KLOSTERMANN TO THE RESCUE
Lazovic breaks forward at pace, brilliantly driving on from midfield to the edge of the Germany penalty area. He slips the ball to Jovic inside the box and just as his Frankfurt team-mates is about to shoot, Klostermann slides in with a brilliant sliding tackle to block what looked to be a certain goal.
22' CHANCE FOR WERNER!
Gündogan wins possession in midfield and pokes the ball to Havertz, who instantly finds Werner with a forward pass. The Leipzig attacker's pace takes him past the covering defender and into the box, but his shot is well saved by Dmitrovic.
18' AS YOU WERE
The goal has done little to change the flow of the game, with Germany still dominating the ball and the visitors sitting deep. Werner has a chance to restore parity, but just can't quite connect with Klostermann's floated cross from the right.
12' JOVIC BREAKS THE DEADLOCK!
Serbia take the lead against the run of play! Ljajic's deflected shot wins a corner for the guests and when it is swung in from the right, Kimmich's attempted clearance ricochets off a Serbian attacker and loops up to the unmarked Jovic, who heads past Neuer from six yards!
11' ONE-TOUCH FOOTBALL
The move ultimately comes to nothing, but it's nevertheless lovely build-up to watch as Kimmich, Brandt and Werner play their way out of a tight corner with quick one-touch passing. Kimmich eventually tries to play Werner through on goal, but a defender manages to clear.
Germany are stroking the ball around confidently, mostly playing out from the back but unafraid to play long balls forward if the situation demands it. Havertz, Brandt and Sane are looking lively up front, flitting across the pitch to open up space.
3' HOSTS ON TOP
Germany have started brightly here and are pushing for an early goal. Brandt strides forward down the right and cuts inside, finding Gündogan. The Manchester City midfielder plays a first-time ball into the box, trying to find Havertz but it's a touch too strong and Dmitrovic comes off his line to smother.
1' FIRST CHANCE FOR GERMANY
Gündogan's attempted through-ball to Werner is cut out on the edge of the Serbia area and falls kindly to Klostermann, who wastes little time in shooting, but his side-footed effort curls wide of the far post.
Germany get the ball rolling at the Volkswagen Arena!
NOT LONG TO GO!
The teams are lined up in the tunnel and about to take to the pitch. We'll be underway very shortly!
NEW FORMATION FOR GERMANY?
In recent games, Löw has sent his side out with a three-man backline, but he looks to have reverted to a 4-3-3 here, with two attack-minded full-backs to join in the team's forward forays.
Klostermann is handed his debut by Löw, with Leipzig teammate Marcel Halstenberg lining up on the opposite side of defence. Meanwhile, there are three Leverkusen players in the starting XI, with Jonathan Tah at centre-back and in-form attackers Kai Havertz and Julian Brandt further forward in midfield.
For Serbia, Eintracht Frankfurt duo Mijat Gacinovic and Luka Jovic both start.
ONE TO WATCH: LUKAS KLOSTERMANN
His surname may mean 'friar', but there is nothing quiet and reserved about the RB Leipzig defender's style of play. The 22-year-old, who is captain of the U21s, is set to make his senior international debut here after receiving his first call-up to Joachim Löw's squad.
His outstanding performances this season mean his place is undoubtedly warranted. Klostermann has won 54.4 per cent of all tackles and only earned one yellow card in 20 appearances, making him a solid member of any backline. Yet it is at the other end of the pitch where he has really caught the eye. The right-back has three goals and one assist for Leipzig in 2018/19 and will now be looking to reproduce that kind of form on the international stage.
REUS TO SCORE?
Dortmund star Marco Reus has earned 37 international caps since making his debut in 2011, his tally significantly reduced by rotten luck with injuries over the years.
He has found the net 10 times for Germany to date, giving him an average of a goal every 3.7 games. As he wasn't on the scoresheet in his last three friendly outings, against Peru, Saudi Arabia and Austria, the attacker is due a goal today. And given his current form for Dortmund, with 15 in 22 Bundesliga matches this term, you wouldn't want to bet against him finding the net.
Today's game is only the fourth meeting between these sides in recent years. Germany have won two, both of which were friendlies (in 2003 and 2008), but Serbia emerged victorious in the latest encounter, earning a 1-0 group stage victory at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Manuel Neuer and Toni Kroos are the only players in the current squad who were involved back then.
GERMANY'S SECOND VOLKSWAGEN ARENA OUTING
Tonight's match will only be the second time that the German men's national team has played at Wolfsburg's Volkswagen Arena home, which has a capacity for 30,000 for Bundesliga games, but 27,000 for international fixtures.
The first time was on 1 June 2003 in a 4-1 friendly victory over Canada. Back then, former Cologne defender Kevin McKenna opened the scoring for the visitors in the 20th minute, before goals from Carsten Ramelow, Paul Freier, Fredi Bobic and Tobias Rau turned the game around for Die Mannschaft.
BRANDT TAKING INSPIRATION FROM ABSENTEES
Bayer Leverkusen’s Julian Brandt is still only 22, but - having featured at the 2018 FIFA World Cup - he now finds himself as one of a clutch of young players who will be expected to drive the team on in the coming months.
“The team has got younger,” he said. “A lot of young players now need to take on responsibility, and we have to learn to do that. It’s kind of a makeover.
“The players that are here do will do everything they can to be successful with the national team.
“You can always try to take a leaf out of the book of Mats Hummels, Thomas Müller and Jerome Boateng. I’ve learned a lot from them.”
SERBIA CALL ON BUNDESLIGA TALENT
Serbia are preparing for a difficult Euro 2020 qualifying opener against European champions Portugal. They have some familiar faces in their squad, most notably the in-form Eintracht Frankfurt trio of Luka Jovic, Filip Kostic and Mijat Gacinovic. Werder Bremen’s Milos Veljkovic completes the Bundesliga contingent in the visitors’ squad for this game.
REUS READY TO GO
Marco Reus has been in brilliant form for Borussia Dortmund, and got a vital, injury-time winner in their 3-2 success at Hertha Berlin last weekend.
The Dortmund skipper has cruelly missed some important dates with Germany due to injury in the past, but Löw is delighted to call on a man who has 15 goals and six assists in the Bundesliga this season.
“Marco is in very good form and has been Dortmund’s key player,” the Germany boss said. “He has taken Dortmund to the top of the league. He has often been injured for us, but we hope that he can replicate his club form and play a big role in our team.”
KIMMICH POISED FOR CENTRAL ROLE
Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich is having another fine season, chalking up 10 assists from full-back to go with the two goals he has for the Bundesliga leaders. Germany manager Joachim Löw used him in a central midfield during the UEFA Nations League in the autumn, however, and that’s where he will be deployed again tonight.
“Joshua Kimmich will play in central midfield in the number 6 position,” Löw said at the pre-game press conference. “He played really well there in a combination with Toni Kroos, Leon Goretzka or Ilkay Gündogan.”
The Germany supremo also said he hopes to see his team improve their defensive game when they lose the ball, and is looking for his side to be as flexible as possible over the qualification campaign.
“We are able to play with three or four at the back, and that will be very important for the next few months,” Löw said. “I don’t want to commit myself to one or the other as the team has to master both. If we can do this well, we won’t have any problems.”
Thanks for joining us ahead of Germany’s final friendly before they start their UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying campaign. This evening they take on Serbia in Wolfsburg, and then they travel to face the Netherlands in their first qualifier in Amsterdam on Sunday.