Germany vs. Netherlands was expected to be the best game of the entire international break, and boy did it deliver: the two teams played a wild 90 minutes of football, especially in the second half, and the Dutch won 4-2 in Hamburg to pick up three gigantic points in Group C and stay strong in their fight for a place in EURO 2020. The great news for Barcelona fans was the first international goal for Frenkie De Jong, who scored the equalizer and started an amazing comeback for the Dutch.
The first 45 minutes had a clear pattern: the Dutch had the ball and tried to find spaces inside a tight German defense that would look to counter attack as soon as they got the ball. Germany’s plan worked less than 10 minutes into the game when they recovered a ball in midfield, Joshua Kimmich played a marvelous long ball to Lukas Klostermann who had his shot saved by Jasper Cillessen, but Serge Gnabry was there to score on the rebound.
For the final half-hour it was all about Germany’s defensive solidity: despite a patient possession from the Netherlands, who used Frenkie De Jong as the initiator and tried to create danger through the middle of the pitch, the home team kept their shape and never allowed any real opportunities, and the only somewhat good chance for the Oranje came on a Memphis Depay header that didn’t really bother Manuel Neuer in goal.
At halftime Germany had the lead and looked really strong, while the Dutch needed a spark to find a goal and get back in the game.
The Dutch were completely different to start the second half, passing the ball quicker, more bodies in the final third and pressing higher up the pitch whenever they lost possession. Germany all of a sudden looked vulnerable at the back, and the visitors equalized after a nice cross from Ryan Babel and a beautiful finish from Frenkie De Jong.
And the Netherlands continued to go forward until they found another goal: a corner was played into the box and Virgil Van Dijk headed the ball right at Manuel Neuer who was able to make a spectacular save, but on the rebound the ball bounced around and Jonathan Tah scored an unfortunate own goal giving the Dutch a deserved lead for their second half efforts.
The final 20 minutes were all about Germany trying to make a comeback of their own, while the Dutch tried to show their defensive solidity. Then Matthijs De Ligt was called for a handball inside the box when he wasn’t even looking, and the hosts were given a very soft penalty. Toni Kroos scored with ease, and the game was all square once again.
The second half turned wild, with both teams opening up and creating chances, and the Dutch were in front once again after a bad pass at the back from Klostermann, an assist from Georginio Wijnaldum and a tap-in for Donyell Malen. The Germans threw everybody forward in the final minutes, and the visitors kept waiting for a chance to kill the game, and a beautiful counter attack created by Memphis Depay was finished by Wijnaldum to confirm the win for the Dutch.
The final whistle came to end a spectacular football match, and led by Frenkie, Van Dijk, Depay and Ronald Koeman, the Netherlands look really good right now.
Germany: Neuer; Ginter (Brandt 84’), Süle, Tah; Klostermann, Kimmich, Kroos, Schulz; Werner (Havertz 61’), Reus (Gundogan 61’); Gnabry
Goals: Gnabry (9’), Kroos (pen. 73’)
Netherlands: Cillessen; De Ligt, Van Dijk, Blind; De Jong; Dumfries (Pröpper 58’), De Roon (Malen 58’), Wijnaldum, Promes; Babel (Aké 81’), Depay
Goals: De Jong (59’), Tah (OG 66’), Malen (79’), Wijnaldum (91’)