Ukraine 1-2 Germany: Visitors break Nations League duck

Die Mannschaft held out to earn their first competition victory thanks to Leon Goretzka's winner.

Germany celebrate Leon Goretzka's winner
Germany celebrate Leon Goretzka's winner AFP via Getty Images

Germany finally secured their first UEFA Nations League victory after surviving a late scare in Kyiv.

Ukraine vs Germany: as it happened, reaction

Match in brief

Leon Goretzka capitalises on a Georgiy Bushchan mistake to head Germany's winner
Leon Goretzka capitalises on a Georgiy Bushchan mistake to head Germany's winnerGetty Images

Mathias Ginter’s well-crafted goal, which involved all three of Germany’s centre-backs, midway through the first half put the visitors ahead. Ukraine goalkeeper Georgiy Bushchan, making his competitive debut, spectacularly denied Joshua Kimmich and Serge Gnabry before the interval, but the goalkeeper's error led to Leon Goretzka heading a second four minutes after the break.

Ruslan Malinovskyi’s late penalty, after Niklas Süle had brought down Roman Yaremchuk, gave the home side hope, but Joachim Löw’s men held on.

Bogdan Buga, Ukraine reporter

Ruslan Malinovskyi’s penalty was not enough for Ukraine
Ruslan Malinovskyi’s penalty was not enough for UkraineGetty Images

Even for a bigger side, missing 14 players would be a problem. For Ukraine, it was a disaster especially against top-class opponents like Germany. With this very experimental line-up, the hosts could neither pose enough attacking threat to Manuel Neuer's goal nor withstand the constant pressure of his team-mates. The result is fair, enough said.

Steffen Potter, Germany reporter

While Germany finally managed a win again tonight and deserved these three points, the game also showed that there is still a lot of work to be done. Löw's team did not make enough out of a huge amount of time on the ball and unnecessarily conceded late on, which forced them to worry until the final whistle.

Reaction

Germany coach Joachim Löw with captain Manuel Neuer
Germany coach Joachim Löw with captain Manuel NeuerGetty Images

Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine coach: "I want to thank my players for their commitment and keeping to our game plan the whole time. We had young guys out on the pitch tonight and I'm really pleased with their performance."

Matthias Ginter, Germany defender: "We know we did not play well, but it was important to have won. It wasn't our best game tonight. Toni Rüdiger did 90% of the work for my goal."

Joachim Löw, Germany coach: "I am pleased that we managed to win. We could have decided matters earlier. We hardly allowed them any chances from open play."

Highlights: Ukraine 1-2 Germany
Highlights: Ukraine 1-2 Germany

Key stats

  • This was Germany’s first UEFA Nations League win at the seventh attempt (D4 L2)
  • Die Mannschaft won for the first time when opening the scoring in 2020, having drawn on the previous three such instances
  • This result ended Ukraine’s run of seven successive home competitive wins

Line-ups

Ukraine: Bushchan; Karavaev, Zabarnyi, Mykolenko, Sobol; Malinovskyi, Sydorchuk (Makarenko 84), Kovalenko (Shaparenko 77); Yarmolenko (Marlos 69), Yaremchuk, Tsygankov (Zubkov 69)

Germany: Neuer; Ginter, Süle, Rüdiger; Klostermann (Emre Can 90), Kimmich, Kroos, Halstenberg; Goretzka, Draxler (Werner 80); Gnabry (Havertz 90)

What's next?

Ukraine welcome Spain on Tuesday while Germany take on neighbours Switzerland in Cologne.