Nico Schulz was the hero, scoring a dramatic late winner for Germany against Netherlands in UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying. - © imago
Nico Schulz was the hero, scoring a dramatic late winner for Germany against Netherlands in UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying. - © imago
bundesliga

Hoffenheim's Nico Schulz fires Germany to dramatic Netherlands win in UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying opener

Hoffenheim’s Nico Schulz scored late on as Germany began their UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 3-2 win against Nations League finalists the Netherlands in Amsterdam.

Netherlands 2-3 Germany

Goals: 0-1 Sane (15'), 0-2 Gnabry (34'), 1-2 De Ligt (48), 2-2 Memphis (64'), 2-3 Schulz (90')

Germany lined up without Borussia Dortmund talisman Marco Reus, who was only deemed fit enough for a place on the bench, but made a menacing start as Gnabry warmed the palms of Netherlands goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen. Schalke academy product Leroy Sane went one better with the three-time European champions’ next effort, the Manchester City youngster collecting Hoffenheim left-back Schulz’s fine cross and breaking the deadlock with aplomb. Manuel Neuer proved why he is still the world’s best goalkeeper with a fine reaction save to thwart ex-Hoffenheim forward Ryan Babel, before Serge Gnabry outfoxed Virgil van Dijk and sent a wonderful curling finish into the top corner to give Germany an encouraging half-time lead.

Germany had looked like scoring with every attack, with former Schalke defender Thilo Kehrer and Sane also testing Cillessen in the first-half deluge, but were pegged back soon after the break. A Matthijs de Ligt header halved the deficit within three minutes of the restart, before Memphis Depay dug out a low finish amidst a scramble in the penalty box to level just past the hour mark. Germany found a second wind as Gnabry fired straight at Cilessen, and as the clock ticked towards added time, Schulz applied the finishing touch to substitute Reus’ precision pass to give Joachim Löw’s team a hard-fought win - their first in six matches. Three points behind Group C leaders Northern Ireland, albeit having played a game less, Germany resume their pursuit of Euro 2020 qualification at home to Belarus on 8 June.

Serge Gnabry (r.) punctuated a superb individual display with his fifth senior international goal. - Getty Images

Match stats

  • Schulz has two goals and one assist in six Germany appearances. He only made his international debut in September 2018.
  • Gnabry has scored five times in six appearances for Germany, averaging a goal every 88 minutes he has played.
  • Toni Kroos is the most capped player in the Germany squad with 92. Neuer is seven back, while 10 players have less than 10 senior international outings.
  • Germany and the Netherlands have met 43 times. Die Mannschaft have won 16 of those games, the Dutch 11, with the remaining 16 drawn.
  • Fifteen Dutchmen ply their trade in the Bundesliga. Bayern legend Arjen Robben, now retired from international duty, is the most capped with 96. Hertha Berlin's Javairo Dilrosun is the most recent, having made his debut in November, against Germany.
  • Babel hit five goals and four assists in 46 Bundesliga appearances for Hoffenheim between January 2011 and May 2012.

Line-ups

Netherlands: Cillessen – Dumfries, De Ligt, Van Dijk (c), Blind – De Roon, De Jong (De Jong 90+1'), Wijnaldum - Babel (Bergwijn 46'), Promes - Memphis
Unused subs: Zoet, Bizot, De Vrij, Ake, Van Aanholt, Tete, Strootman, Vilhena, Pröpper, Van de Beek, Rosario, Berghuis
Coach: Ronald Koeman

Germany: Neuer (c) – Ginter, Süle, Rüdiger – Kehrer, Kimmich, Kroos, SchulzGoretzka (Gündogan 70'), Sane - Gnabry (Reus 88')
Unused subs: ter Stegen, Trapp, Tah, Stark, Brandt, Havertz, Eggestein, Werner
Coach: Joachim Löw

* Bundesliga players in bold

As it happened

NETHERLANDS 2-3 GERMANY
Goals: 0-1
Sane (15'), 0-2 Gnabry (34'), 1-2 De Ligt (48), 2-2 Memphis (64'), 2-3 Schulz (90')

GOODBYE AND GOODNIGHT!

Well, that was a cracker of a match. First Germany raced into a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from first Sane and then Gnabry before Netherlands looked to have salvaged a point until Schulz's late heroics. Thanks for joining us for what was Germany's first win over Netherlands, in Netherlands, since 1996.

92' - FULL-TIME!

WHAT. A. WIN. The late introduction of Marco Reus proves a masterstroke as the Dortmund forward tees up Hoffenheim's Nico Schulz to give Germany a 3-2 win over Netherlands in Amsterdam. A great start to their Group C qualifying campaign for UEFA Euro 2020.

90' - GOAL! NICO SCHULZ!

Germany in dreamland! Gündogan finds Reus with a delightful through ball and the Dortmund skipper picks out Schulz who fires home what surely is the winner. Late, late drama!

88' - GERMANY SUB

Reus is on and it's Gnabry that makes way. A superb performance from Gnabry and his goal will be remembered for some time. Over to the Dortmund captain to try and win this game for his country...

84' - GNABRY STILL A THREAT

A delightful touch, direct run and expert creation of space from Gnabry sees Cillessen called into action but he saves comfortably in the end. Much better from Germany and that effort looks to have lifted them in pursuit of a late winner.

80' - GONE IN 600 SECONDS

Just ten minutes to go now and Germany need another goal if they're going to get the win they very much deserved at half time. A point would still be a good result but after taking that two-goal lead into the break they will be wanting all three.

79' - TIME FOR THE BUNDA BENCH BOYS?

Plenty of quality still on the German touchline itching to get involved, here. Could it be time for Reus? Maybe Brandt or Havertz? What about Eggestein or Werner to come on and grab you a goal? All of them are more than capable of making a decisive impact.

75' - BACK ON THE BALL

Germany have wrestled back the bulk of possession in the last five minutes and managed to take the sting out of Netherlands. Still no chances of note but if they can keep both the ball and their composure then they can certainly still win this.

70' - GERMANY SUB

The first change of the night for Germany and Gündogan who comes on to replace Goretzka. He'll most likely sit a little deeper than where the Bayern midfielder was operating from.

64' - GOAL! MEMPHIS DEPAY!

It's deja vu. Germany's lead is gone and Netherlands are level. Depay squirms a shot through traffic and into the bottom corner to make it 2-2.

60' - BIG HALF HOUR

Just 30 minutes to go in Amsterdam and this could be a crucial period in terms of Group C qualification. No chances of note for Germany in this second half so far. Changes incoming perhaps?

54' - A CALL FOR CALM

Germany seeing more of the ball now and settling back into this second half. Needing to chase the game, Netherlands are, unsurprisingly, posing a far greater attacking threat.

48' - GOAL! DE LIGT!

Netherlands have one back, De Ligt rising and heading past Neuer. Didn't see that coming.

46' - NETHERLANDS SUB

Bergwijn comes on for Babel.

46' - SECOND HALF KICK-OFF

We're underway in the second half. More of the same, please lads...

AS IT STANDS

Germany will move level with Netherlands at the top of Group C on points and a +2 goal difference. That too, with a game in hand. We said earlier this would be the perfect start to qualifying for Germany, and they're now 45 minutes away from doing just that.

45' - HALF-TIME

At the break, Germany lead by two goals to nil and they have been mightily impressive. Sane and Gnabry have the goals, and Löw will be delighted with his side at half-time. Dominant.

44' - YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

Süle shows off that remarkable pace for such a hulking centre-back and gets across to deny Netherlands as they threaten to get behind Germany's back line. Every aspect of the Germany side has come together excellently in this half.

39' - NEARLY A THIRD

Another excellent delivery from Schulz finds his teammate on the opposite flank but Cillessen saves well from Kehrer's header. Moments later Sane is also denied by the Netherlands keeper. Germany look like scoring every time they go forward.

34' - GOAL! SERGE GNABRY

And what a goal...

Gnabry has Van Dijk on toast, back pedalling and all at sea as the Bayern man cuts inside and bends a sumptuous, curling finish into the far top corner from the left edge of the penalty area. An absolute beauty of a goal.

32' - A LITTLE SCRAPPY

Less than quarter of an hour to go until the break and the slickness has somewhat gone out of the game in the last few minutes. Germany still much the better side and look dangerous every time they attack.

27' - AND AGAIN!

Neuer is at his very best once again and denies Babel... once again! Superb stuff from the Germany and Bayern Munich stopper.

24' - WHAT A SAVE!

Germany captain Neuer is called upon for the first time in this match and he denies former Hoffenheim forward Babel superbly.

22' - TACTICAL SWITCH WORKING

Germany reverted to three at the back tonight and they look great for doing so. Hoffenheim's Schulz has been a constant threat overlapping on the left, while Kimmich, Kroos and Goretzka have got a grip on the centre of midfield, and Gnabry and Sane a near constant threat. Löw certainly winning the tactical battle so far and Germany are in control.

15' - GOAL! LEROY SANE!

And there we have it, Germany take a deserved lead. Schulz makes a fine run down the left hand side and centres it to Sane who makes no mistake. A lovely finish and, you have to say, that was coming.

13' - POUNCING MIDFIELD

And Kimmich almost instantly underlines that last point, capitalising on a misplaced pass and driving into the Netherlands penalty area but is tackled superbly before he can get a shot away. Germany looking good so far.

10' - THE MUNICH MAINSTAY

Kimmich has started all but one of Germany's last 39 matches. It highlights just how important a member of Löw's plans that the Bayern man is.

5' - FLUID FORWARDS

Gnabry and Sane have begun superbly and the two are interchanging menacingly with Goretzka also floating among that front three. They look threatening in these early exchanges.

2' - A BRIGHT START

Germany have settled instantly into proceedings and they have the first shot on target. Sane finds space on the left hand side and picks out Gnabry in the box but the Bayern man's robust effort is parried away by Cillessen. A great start from the visitors.

1' - KICK-OFF!

A hearty toot of the referee's whistle and Germany get us up and running...

ANTHEMS UNDERWAY

Just a couple of minutes to go before kick-off. The German national anthem being belted out with skipper Manuel Neuer giving it particular gusto.

"REUS NOT 100 PER CENT"

Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus doesn't start tonight and Löw has been explaining his absence in the pre-match build-up.

"We've been monitoring his situation closely for the last two days. His thigh isn't 100 per cent so it was too risky to start him," said Löw. Reus is on the bench, though, and you'd expect to see him enter the fray at some point.

NOT LONG TO GO!

Both the teams are out on the pitch warming up and kick-off is fast approaching. Just a reminder that this is Germany's first match of UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying in Group C. The Netherlands have already begun their campaign with a 4-0 victory over Belarus but a win tonight for the Germans and they can move top of the table with a game in hand. That would be the perfect start to proceedings for Löw and his side.

BRAVERTZ BROMANCE ON BENCH

Those fresh-faced Bayer Leverkusen schemers Julian Brandt and Kai Havertz have to settle for a place on the subs bench tonight but what a couple of aces Löw has up his sleeve. We recently looked at how these two Bundesliga besties are transforming the Leverkusen midfield and, well, it makes for pretty scary reading if you're in the opposition camp...

KIMMICH'S CENRAL ROLE

One again, Joshua Kimmich will feature in the centre of midfield for Germany rather than his favoured right-back slot at Bayern Munich, and the man he will feature alongside tonight - Toni Kroos - believes the two are striking up quite the partnership. "The last few games have shown that we work well together. We complement each other - it's certainly an option long-term," said Kroos.

GNABRY THROUGH THE MIDDLE?

With Timo Werner starting as a sub, an interesting dynamic has unfolded up front for Germany. It looks as if Bayern Munich man Serge Gnabry - the league leaders' second highest top-scorer behind Robert Lewandowski - will start as Germany's furthest forward player. Could Gnabry end up developing into an out-and-out striker? It's a question we posed recently, asking whether Gnabry is the heir to Miroslav Klose's throne...

A NEW ERA FOR GERMANY

With the Bayern trio of Thomas Müller, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng no longer in the international fold, opportunity is abound and there are two new faces on the German bench tonight itching to get a go. And so, without further ado, meet Niklas Stark and Maximilian Eggestein.

WELCOME!

Hello and welcome to bundesliga.com's live coverage of Netherlands vs Germany as Joachim Löw's men kick-off their UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying campaign in Amsterdam. To kick things off, here's how the two teams shape up at the Johan Cruyff Arena...