Germany 3-1 Ukraine: Hosts hit back to go top

Germany came from behind to beat Ukraine and go top of Group A4.

Highlights: Germany 3-1 Ukraine
Highlights: Germany 3-1 Ukraine

Leon Goretzka laid on two goals as Germany came from behind to beat Ukraine and move top of Group A4.

Germany vs Ukraine: as it happened, reaction

Match in brief

After a bright start from the hosts, it was Ukraine who took the lead when Roman Yaremchuk slammed home after good perseverance from Oleksandr Zubkov.

But that was just a blip for Germany, and they levelled when Goretzka's ball found Leroy Sané, who cut inside to fire in from the edge of the penalty area.

And Goretzka set up the second too, collecting Robin Koch's pass and then picking out Timo Werner in the middle to head home from two metres out.

Oleksandr Zinchenko had a shot deflected onto the post early in the second period, but Germany continued to press forward and Werner's deflected effort made it three.

Marlos and Júnior Moraes also hit the post for the visitors, but it was to be Germany's night in Leipzig.

Germany have moved topped of Group A4
Germany have moved topped of Group A4Getty Images

Steffen Potter, Germany reporter

Tonight's game fulfilled its purpose for Löw – he will surely have come to a host of new insights. It's interesting to note that he decided to play with a back four again, but I am not sure if this will continue against sides which opt for less of a counterattacking game than Ukraine tonight. Philipp Max once more convinced as attacking left-back, but balancing attacking intent and defensive stability is not only a job for his position but the entire team to work out. Matthias Ginter, having played a part in three goals in his last four Germany matches now, will surely play a big part in Löw's EURO plans.

Bogdan Buga, Ukraine reporter

Even with their best line-up, Ukraine could barely be a match for Germany, but their depleted side tried hard and wanted to play football, without fear and with the intention to spoil the hosts' play. Andriy Shevchenko's side showed good attacking potential but were not clinical enough (hitting the post three times tells its own story), and they also couldn't avoid several crucial errors at the back. Now they have to learn another lesson at this top level and do everything to avoid losing in Switzerland.

Reaction

Joachim Löw, Germany coach: "It wasn't easy since Ukraine played good football and their players are fast and dynamic in transition. We had lots of pace in the first half, some good attacks. Back then we controlled the game better. In the second half, we lost too many balls and were pushed back too often."

Werner joy at winning Leipzig return
Werner joy at winning Leipzig return

Leroy Sané, Germany forward: "I am proud of the team. The most important thing was coming out of this with a positive win. We still have a long season ahead of us."

Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine coach: "We tried to play our football and sometimes we did it very well. But we played against a very organised team who changed their approach after our game in Kyiv. We were close to getting a draw, if only we'd converted our chances. We expect a very tough game in Switzerland now but we will fight until the end."

Taras Stepanenko, Ukraine midfielder: "The coach asked us to play football, not only to defend. Sometimes we had to suffer, sometimes we possessed the ball well. But it's another level: everyone plays faster here. We need to adapt to this."

Ukraine opened the scoring in Leipzig
Ukraine opened the scoring in LeipzigGetty Images

Key stats

  • Timo Werner scored for the fifth successive game for club and country (seven goals).
  • Germany won a home match in the UEFA Nations League for the first time, having drawn the previous four.
  • Germany remain unbeaten in Group A4.
  • Ukraine suffered a fifth defeat in their last six games – the exception being their Matchday 4 win against Spain.
  • Ukraine have conceded 18 goals in their last six games, having only let in seven in the previous 12.

Line-ups

Germany: Neuer; Rüdiger, Süle, Koch; Ginter, Goretzka, Gündoğan, Max; Sané (Waldschmidt 86), Werner (Brandt 76), Gnabry

Ukraine: Pyatov; Konoplia, Zabarnyi, Matviyenko, Sobol; Malinovskyi, Stepanenko (Makarenko 69), Zinchenko (Kharatin 86); Marlos, Yaremchuk (Júnior Moraes 75), Zubkov (Mykhaylichenko 75)

What's next?

17/11: Spain vs Germany
17/11: Switzerland vs Ukraine