Not always a draw: Shooting festival against the European champions! After the biggest win in 83 years against the former feared opponent Italy, Hansi Flick is sending his national players into the summer break with a huge World Cup encouragement. After four 1-1 games in a row, the DFB selection improved significantly in all parts of the team in the historic 5-2 (2-0) in Mönchengladbach and celebrated the longed-for sense of achievement against one of the greats in world football in the Nations League.
Joshua Kimmich (10th minute), Ilkay Gündogan with a penalty kick (45th 4th), the loud leader Thomas Müller (51st) and Flick’s top scorer Timo Werner (68th and 69th) ensured great anticipation for the finals in front of 44,144 spectators in Qatar later this year. Wilfried Gnonto (78th) and Alessandro Bastoni (90th 4) scored Italy’s goals. In the Nations League, the DFB selection will play against Hungary and England in Leipzig in September for group victory and qualification for the final tournament in 2023.
As in the previous games, Flick had rebuilt his starting eleven against Italy. Five newcomers joined the team, including defense chief Antonio Rüdiger and Leroy Sané, who has recently been heavily criticized. “Every player needs a certain amount of support, and we want to give them that too,” said Flick, who once again put his trust in Werner.
Sané and Werner were also involved in the first good scenes of the DFB-Elf on the offensive. With a bit of luck, Sané got a shot in the Italians’ penalty area and the ball just missed the left post (7′). Three minutes later, Niklas Süle’s long pass reached Werner, who served David Raum. His cross found Kimmich, who was free in the six-yard space, and easily pushed in.
Buoyed by the early lead, the German team had more of the game, seemed more determined and committed than the sobering 1-1 in Hungary three days earlier. Rüdiger’s header after a corner kick from Kimmich just missed his target (15′). After a quick counterattack via Sané and Werner, Jonas Hofmann, who had been so conspicuous recently, was denied by guest keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma (32nd).
Coach Flick obviously liked the performance of his protégés despite a few stick errors. Again and again he clapped on the sidelines with successful actions and drove his team on. Nicely cleared by Thomas Müller, the sometimes sloppy Sané should have made it 2-0, but shot from the edge of the penalty area too unplaced (39th). Seconds later, Werner also found his master in Donnarumma.
The Italians made little progress in the game before the break. Except for Giacomo Raspadori’s early opportunity, which Manuel Neuer defused (8th), the Squadra Azzurra disappointed their fans.
Then Alessandro Bastoni made matters worse when he awkwardly knocked Hofmann over in Müller’s cross. Referee Istvan Kovacs from Romania awarded a penalty and Gündogan scored his 15th international goal. For the first time since the 3: 4 in the game of the century at the World Cup in 1970, a DFB selection scored more than one goal in a competitive game against Italy.
But that’s not all. The brief gasping of the guests immediately after the restart caused the German defense to falter briefly. But Müller gave the Italians the next trick with his 44th DFB goal after Raum’s sharp pass into the danger zone was only insufficiently repelled.
Then it finally became very bitter for Italy. Substitute Serge Gnabry unselfishly served Werner, who had been somewhat hapless up to that point – and the Chelsea professional effortlessly made it 4-0. Just a minute later, Donnarumma blundered with a bad pass. Gnabry steered to Werner, who was allowed to cheer again. With seven goals, the 26-year-old is the most successful scorer since Flick took office.
But there was still a small beauty spot, which particularly annoyed Captain Neuer. The custodian saved Federico Dimarco’s attempt at the feet of 18-year-old Gnonto, who became Italy’s youngest international goalscorer. Thus, Neuer again missed the hoped-for clean sheet. In stoppage time, Bastoni even scored.