Excellent goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Silvan Widmer were the highlights of a decent game that left Germany and Switzerland trailing Spain at the top of Group 4 by two and three points respectively. Germany are now without a win in six Nations League games.
Germany started well, and on 14 minutes fashioned a lovely goal, Gundogan curving a precise early finish past Yann Sommer. Switzerland, though, were a constant threat, missing various chances to equalise, most particularly when Haris Seferovic hit the post.
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The start of the second half was not dissimilar to the start of the first, with Germany dominating, and a clinching goal looked inevitable with Switzerland unable to get out. But Breel Embolo, always a winning runner and clever passer, was found by Granit Xhaka and set Widmer to finish beautifully.
Both sides pressed for the win thereafter, but neither side quite found the necessary quality. Group 4 is shaping up very nicely indeed.
Do Germany have the players for three at the back? Germany have lots of excellent midfielders and attackers, but even when the Bayern contingent return lack quality in the middle of their defence. Switzerland ran off them easily, and perhaps a tighter, flatter defensive line will give them stability and width they lacked this evening.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Breel Embolo (Switzerland) His side’s most potent threat, running with intelligence and pace and passing with imagination and incision.
Switzerland: Sommer 6, Widmer 7, Elvedi 6, Akanji 6, Rodriguez 6, Benito 7, Embolo 8, Sow 6, Xhaka 7, Steffen 7, Sferovic 6; Subs: Vargas 6, Zuber 6, Aeibischer 6.
Germany: Leno 6, Ginter 6, Sule 5, Rudiger 5, Kehrer 5, Gundogan 6, Kroos 5, Gosens 5, Sane 5, Draxler 4, Werner 5. Subs: Brandt 6, Tah 6, Can 6.
Germany’s midfielder Toni Kroos (C) fights for the ball with Switzerland’s midfielder Djibril Sow during the UEFA Nations League, league A, day 2, group 4 football match between Switzerland and Germany at the St. Jakob-Park in Basel, on September 6, 2020.
Image credit: Getty Images
Only seven teams have played at least six Nations League games and won none: Latvia, Andorra, Malta, San Marino, Lithuania, Ireland and Germany.
Switzerland’s starting XI featured twice as many players playing in the Bundesliga as Germany’s, six and three respectively.
14’ – GOAL! Switzerland 0-1 Germany (Gundogan) Germany come down the right with Ginter, who lacks back for Gundogan, just outside the box, well right of centre … and he caresses a first-time punch that arcs inside the near post. Beautifully taken.
26’ – Lovely from Switzerland, Sow darting a ball into Embolo, who takes a touch and slides another excellent ball for Steffen. But he aims for the smallest possible space, between keeper and near post, and Leno saves. He needed to go across him there – and it was a really good chance.