All the old problems were there to see Germany’s uninspired showing in a 3-3 draw with Ukraine was just the latest example of the team’s struggles, leaving it in a state of alarm one year before the country hosts the European Championship.
Only Kai Havertz prevented worse for the team on Tuesday, when he came on as a substitute and pulled a goal back, then forced the penalty from which Joshua Kimmich nabbed the equalizer in injury time.
It prevented Germany’s second straight defeat after the 3-2 loss at home against Belgium in March, but it did little to address recurrent problems and doubts about coach Hansi Flick’s ability to address them.
Flick sat stone-faced after Havertz and Kimmich’s goals, unable to take pleasure in either after what he had seen before.
The German soccer federation stuck with Flick as coach after Germany’s World Cup flop in Qatar, bringing in former national team striker and coach Rudi Völler as sporting director to support him as Oliver Bierhoff’s successor.
But so far there has been no sign that any of the team’s problems in Qatar have been addressed.
Instead, it was a familiar tale of Germany dominating possession and creating chances while still prone to costly mistakes. Mistakes led to all three Ukrainian goals.Advertisement
A wayward pass from Julian Brandt led to Viktor Tsyhankov’s equalizer, another mistake from Nico Schlotterbeck preceded Ukraine’s second goal, and Brandt’s difficult ball for Matthias Ginter led to the third — again scored by Tsyhankov.
“That’s what we need cut out — the mistakes at the back and at the front,” Kimmich said after preventing what would have been Ukraine’s first ever win over Germany.
The result did not hide the team’s shortcomings. Germany made a good start but lacked precision and then failed to make headway against the visitors’ hardworking defense once they had settled into the game.Advertisement
“We have to keep working on it,” said Flick, who still hasn’t found a settled defense. “We started with three at the back and then switched to a back four, so 4-3-3, but these are things, processes that we have to go through.” There were whistles from some Germany supporters as the home team labored to make a breakthrough.
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“Individual mistakes can happen, it’s part of the sport. Of course, we have to have a better grip on the situation. It’s been an issue for a long time, it’s fact. But we still have a year to the European Championship, and we have until then to sort them out — otherwise it will be harder.” Germany next plays Poland in Warsaw on Friday before hosting Colombia in Gelsenkirchen on Tuesday. The team has already qualified for Euro 2024 as host.