Bayern Munich's Leon Goretzka bagged two assists while club teammate Leroy Sane scored once as Germany went top of UEFA Nations League Group A4 with victory over Ukraine, ahead of a winner-takes-all showdown with Spain.
Germany 3-1 Ukraine
Goals: 0-1 Yaremchuk (12'), 1-1 Sane (23'), 2-1 Werner (33'), 3-1 Werner (64')
After warming up with victory over Czech Republic on Thursday, Joachim Löw welcomed back his star players for the visit of Ukraine to RB Leipzig's Red Bull Arena on Saturday. It was far from the ideal start, though, with the visitors taking a 12th-minute lead through Roman Yaremchuk's sharp near-post finish. Germany responded swiftly with one-third of their pacey three-man attack getting them level. Bayern pair Goretzka and Sane combined, with the former sending the latter down the right before Sane cut inside onto his left and smashed home across goal. Goretzka himself forced a tidy save from Ukraine captain and goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov before Germany turned the game around just 10 minutes after Sane's leveller. Robin Koch's sweet pass allowed Goretzka to find Timo Werner in front of goal for his second assist of the game after a simple headed finish.
Ukraine almost brought the scores level once more just minutes into the second half after Oleksandr Zinchenko's shot was deflected onto his own post by Niklas Süle. Löw's side responded well, with Sane forcing a save from Pyatov after Serge Gnabry's through ball put him in on goal. Gnabry then had two chances of his own with a shot blocked from close range in the penalty area before he fired over the bar moments later from Sane's lay-off. Germany's pressure was rewarded with 64 minutes played, though, as their lead was doubled. Matthias Ginter found Werner in the middle, who supplied a tidy finish for his second of the game. Manuel Neuer's post was struck for a second time from Marlos' curling shot as the game entered the final 10 minutes. Goretzka had a chance to put the result beyond any doubt, but could only head at Pyatov from around the penalty spot before Ukraine struck Neuer's post for a third time in the second half through Moraes. Löw's side held on to all three points with Spain's draw against Switzerland putting Germany top of the group with one round of games to play on Tuesday.
- Germany have never lost to Ukraine, winning five and drawing three of their eight meetings since 1997 with an aggregate score of 14-6.
- Löw's side are currently on a 12-game unbeaten run stretching back to September 2019.
- Germany have won their first Nations League game at home under Löw.
- With Spain's draw against Switzerland, Germany have a one-point lead heading into a winner-takes-all showdown with Spain on Sunday to earn a Nations League semi-final place.
- Werner scored two goals in his first game back at the Red Bull Arena after departing RB Leipzig for Chelsea in the summer.
Germany: Neuer (c) - Ginter, Süle, Rüdiger, Max - Gündogan, Koch, Goretzka - Gnabry, Sane (Waldschmidt 86') - Werner (Brandt 76')
Unused subs: Leno, Trapp, Uduokhai, Tah, Neuhaus, Amiri, Henrichs, Stark, Dahoud
Out: Baumann (not included), Draxler (not included), Gosens (calf), Halstenberg (groin), Hofmann (thigh), Kehrer (knock), Kimmich (knee), Klostermann (knee), Kroos (not included), Schulz (calf)
Coach: Joachim Löw
Ukraine: Pyatov (c) - Konoplia, Zabarnyi, Matviyenko, Sobol - Malinovskyi, Stepanenko (Makarenko 69'), Zinchenko (Kharatin 86') - Marlos, Yaremchuk (Moraes 75'), Zubkov (Mykhaylichenko 75')
Unused subs: Pankiv, Lunin, Kryvtsov, Cheberko, Bondar
Out: Bezus (not included), Kovalenko (not included), Sydorchuk (not included), Tsygankov (not included), Yarmolenko (not included)
Coach: Andriy Shevchenko
As it happened!
Germany grab their first win at home in the Nations League to go top of GroupA.
90' - ADDED TIME!
We're now into three minutes of stoppage time at the end of this one.
88' - LOOKING COMFORTABLE
A two-goal lead has been vital for Germany's confidence here, despite some strong pressure in the second half from Ukraine.
82' - OFF THE POST AGAIN
Ukraine hit the post for a third time as Moraes takes a shot at goal from 20 yads out, and a deflection off Koch takes it past Neuer and back out off the post.
80' - HUGE CHANCE FOR GORETZKA!
The Bayern man finds Max on the left, and his cross finds Goretzka who has charged into the Ukraine box. He's all alone to head at goal from the penalty spot, but sends his effort straight at Pyatov.
79' - BRANDT FORCES A SAVE
The substitute is found by Max in the Ukraine box and he pushes past a defender before shooting at the near post. Pyatov reacts well to push it behind.
76' - FIRST GERMANY CHANGE
The scorer of two of Germany's three goals, Werner, is replaced by Brandt here.
75' - UKRAINE HIT THE POST AGAIN
Marlos sends a superb curling shot at goal from the right corner of the Germany penalty area with his left foot. It leaves Neuer stranded, but the ball glances the outside the post before going wide.
75' - INTO THE FINAL 15...
There are new faces on in the Ukraine attack for these final 15 minutes with Shevchenko's side looking to get back into the game late on.
68' - CHANCE AT THE OTHER END
A chance for Ukraine as Zubkov is played in down the left and crosses towards Yaremchuk, but the earlier goalscorer can't get on the end of his cross this time.
64' - GOAL! WERNER HAS HIS BRACE!
It's a second for Werner and third for Germany two double the hosts' lead. Gündogan breaks from midfield and finds Ginter in space on the right. He plays the ball back across with a first-time pass and Werner is on hand to slot it home through the legs of a Ukrainian defender.
61' - GNABRY AGAIN!
Chances galore for Germany as Sane's shot from close range is blocked and the ball rolls out to his Bayern teammate on the end of the box. He goes for goal with his left, but sends his shot high over the crossbar.
60' - GNABRY THIS TIME!
So close once more for Germany, as Max's pass inside from the left finds Sane in the Ukraine penalty area. He has the awareness to flick the ball back towards Gnabry for a cleaner shot at goal, but his effort is blocked.
57' - CHANCE FOR SANE!
Tidy build-up play as Goretkza finds Gnabry in between the lines, and he swiftly played Sane through. He went to shoot past Pyatov, but the goalkeeper and his closest defender combine at the last moment to block the ball behind.
52' - UKRAINE HIT THE POST
Zinchenko is found in space outside the Germany penalty area and turns quickly to shoot at goal with his favoured left foot. Süle makes a block, but can only send the ball to the other side of the goal with Neuer already heading the way of the initial shot. Luckily it bounces wide off the post.
48' - BRIGHT START
Another fantastic pass in midfield from Koch sends Max away down the left, but his cross is blocked behind for a corner. It's eventually cleared by Ukraine, but a positive start from Germany to be on the front-foot immediately in this second half.
46' - KICK-OFF!
We're back underway for the second half with no changes to either side here during half-time.
Not an ideal start, but an ideal end to the first half with Germany coming from behind to lead going into the break. Goretzka's pair of assists for Sane and Werner have Löw's side ahead. Meanwhile, Switzerland are leading Spain at half-time which means that as things stand: Germany are top of the group.
42' - APPROACHING THE BREAK
The game has slowed down since Germany took the lead for the first time. Löw's side looking to take control of the game as well as the scoreline, with patient possession and build-up play. Goretzka has sliced a shot wide of the mark on the half-volley as they continue to push on when they see an opening.
37' - GERMANY FINDING THEIR WAY
While Ukraine's performances levels have dropped, Germany's have risen in the last 10 minutes or so. Counter-attacks are being snuffed out by Rüdiger and Süle at the back, while Goretzka and Gündogan are keeping the ball moving in midfield.
33' - GOAL! WERNER HEADS HOME!
It's a goal to put Germany in the lead for the first time and another assist for Goretzka. A lovely chipped pass over the Ukraine defence from Koch meets Goretzka's run on the right. He brings it down superbly before playing the ball across for Werner to head home from two yards out.
28' - YELLOW CARD
Rüdiger is booked for Germany and will be suspended for the game against Spain.
26' - GORETZKA HAS A GO!
Now it's the provider who turns to striker for Germany as he pings a shot a goal from 25 yards. It draws a good save from Pyatov to turn the ball behind.
23' - GOAL! SANE FIRES GERMANY LEVEL!
A fantastic counter-attack goal as Germany get behind the Ukraine defence for the first time. Goretzka knicks the ball from Zinchenko in midfield before sending Sane away. He races onto the ball and touches it past a defender with one touch before smashing it home across goal with the second. Impossible to defend, and Bayern's duo combines to level the score.
17' - ALMOST FOR WERNER!
He battles Zabarnyi for the ball with it bouncing into the box while Pyatov is racing off his line to meet it, too. Werner reaches it first, but his attempted flick over the goalkeeper gets a touch on the way wide of goal.
15' - PATIENCE NEEDED
Ukraine enjoyed plenty of the early possession here before taking the lead and now Löw's side need to have some time on the ball themselves. They've had the away side penned around their own penalty area for a few minutes, but it's proving difficult to find a way in behind their defensive line so far.
12' - UKRAINE LEAD
A scrappy goal for the away side as Koch blocks a pass into the Germany penalty but it's recovered by a man in yellow. One pass across to the left finds Yaremchuk in a touch of space and he finds the top corner from eight yards out. Let's see how Germany respond to this.
10' - FLUID ATTACK
Gnabry, Sane and Werner are changing positions all the time here. However, to start, Sane is on the right and Werner on the left with Gnabry through the middle.
6' - TACTICAL SWITCH
It looks like Löw has made a slightly unexpected change to his line-up with Koch in defensive midfield in between Goretzka and Gündogan, while a four-man defence is behind him. It's allowing Max and Ginter to get down the wings on either flank to support the attack.
5' - HEADER WIDE FROM KOCH
Another opportunity, this time from a dead-ball situation. Koch meets Max's free-kick but can't keep his header on target.
3' - EARLY CHANCE!
Germany find space down the right as Ginter whips in a low cross. It bounces in front of the Ukraine goal with Werner unable to get on the end of it, and the ball runs out to Max at the back post. He cuts back with a pass to Goretzka rather than shooting himself but the Bayern midfielder can't keep his shot on target from 10 yards out.
1' - KICK-OFF!
We're underway in Leipzig with the home side getting the ball rolling.
KICK-OFF COMING UP!
The national anthems are being sung by both sides in Leipzig and we're just minutes away from kick-off now in this crucial Nations League game.
WERNER ON GERMANY'S ATTACK
The former Leipzig forward sounds excited about lining up alongside Gnabry and Sane this evening.
"The three of us are all very fast and very determined," said Werner. "I don't want to be in the shoes of our opponents."
Last time out in the Nations League, Ukraine produced one of their best performances in recent years to beat Spain 1-0 and keep their hopes of winning this group alive. Head coach Andriy Shevchenko has said, however, that his side's gameplan will have to be a more defensive one tonight against Germany.
AS THINGS STAND
This group in the Nations League is one of the tightest, with nothing yet decided and, only if Switzerland lose to Spain tonight - in the other game to be played - can anything be confirmed this evening, which would be the Swiss' relegation. A win for Germany, meanwhile, will take them three points ahead of Ukraine before a potential group winner-decider against Spain on Tuesday.
Germany's terrific trio of Gnabry, Werner and Sane has been reunited for this evening's game. The two Bayern boys and Chelsea's summer signing from Leipzig will combine in a fluid attack with pace and dribbling at the forefront.
GERMANY TEAM NEWS
For Germany, there have been several enforced changes for Löw's side from their last Nations League outing. They see Koch, Max, Süle, Sane and Gündogan start in place of Kimmich, Kroos, Klostermann, Gosens and Havertz, who are all unavailable for various reasons. With a back three of Koch, Süle and Rüdiger, it would appear that Löw has opted to place Gladbach's Ginter at right wing-back.
After Germany grabbed a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic on Wednesday, Joachim Löw's side take on Ukraine in their penultimate Nations League group stage game at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig.
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