Ger­many hopes to build on 1st Na­tions League win, Switzer­land next

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Sports -

GER­MANY’S na­tional team re­turned home in the early hours of yes­ter­day from a 2-1 Na­tions League vic­tory in Ukraine and will hope that their first-ever suc­cess in the event will bol­ster morale for Tues­day’s date with Switzer­land and be­yond. The 2014 world cham­pi­ons were far from glo­ri­ous in Kyiv, but goals from Matthias Gin­ter and Leon Goret­zka soothed every­body’s nerves a lit­tle bit. “Vic­to­ries are like glue; vic­to­ries are im­por­tant,” coach Joachim Low said. Low, 60, has come un­der in­creased crit­i­cism lately after Ger­many failed to pre­serve a lead in all three pre­vi­ous games of the year, draw­ing 1-1 with Spain and in Switzer­land in the Na­tions League last month, and 3-3 with Turkey in a mid­week friendly. But Low said that he was “look­ing at the big pic­ture” as he con­tin­ues to re­shape the team and has his sights on the Euro 2020 tour­na­ment, which has been moved to 2021 be­cause of the coro­n­avirus pan­demic. “We know what we are do­ing,” the coach in­sisted.

Low made nine changes after the Turkey match with play­ers from Cham­pi­ons League win­ners Bay­ern Mu­nich re­turn­ing along with key mid­fielder Toni Kroos. But Ger­many was waste­ful and also gave away too many balls in the first half, be­fore hav­ing to sweat it out at the end after un­der-strength Ukraine pulled one back from Rus­lan Mali­novskyi’s penalty after a clumsy chal­lenge from Nik­las Suele. It also didn’t go un­no­ticed that the open­ing goal came from the de­fense, with An­to­nio Ruedi­ger set­ting up Gin­ter, and that Goret­zka’s sec­ond was gifted by goal­keeper Ge­orgiy Bushchan. “We got over the line tonight and ul­ti­mately have all three points,” for­ward Serge Gnabry said, prompt­ing the Sued­deutsche Zeitung pa­per to say Sun­day: “Maybe you have to be sat­is­fied with just this at the mo­ment.”

Gin­ter con­firmed this by say­ing: “We are pleased to have won. That’s im­por­tant for the jour­ney we are on. We weren’t at our best tonight, and it was a bit close to­wards the end.”

Ger­many now has five points in their group, two be­hind lead­ers Spain where they play in the Novem­ber fi­nale along with a home game against Ukraine – still with a chance to win the group and reach next year’s Na­tions League fi­nals. The play­ers were to re­cover Sun­day be­fore the only train­ing ses­sion Mon­day for the game against Switzer­land in Cologne where most likely only 300 fans will be al­lowed in, like against Turkey, ow­ing to coro­n­avirus re­stric­tions. “I won’t make many changes to the start­ing XI against Switzer­land if noth­ing changes,” Low has al­ready pledged. COLOGNE / DPA

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