Even though the German team put in a decent performance overall, it was only enough for a 1-1 (0-0) draw against Denmark in the penultimate test match before the European Championship.
The match in Innsbruck, a good 25 kilometers away from the German training camp in Seefeld, was dominated by the comeback of Thomas Müller and Mats Hummels. In November 2018, exactly 926 days ago, both had last played for the national team; as expected, they were in the starting eleven against the Danes. As will probably also be the case at the European Championship.Otherwise, however, the lineup that national coach Löw had decided on still had something provisional about it. Particularly in midfield, Toni Kroos, Leon Goretzka and Ilkay Gündogan were all missing. All three have legitimate claims to a regular place at the European Championship. Löw had a three-man defense with Hummels playing on the left, as he did at Borussia Dortmund, while up front he fielded the three Munich players Leroy Sané, Serge Gnabry and Thomas Müller, who swapped positions.
Initially, the German offense lacked the final punch, but it was Müller who had the first good chance for his team. After a chip ball from his Munich teammate Kimmich, he took off into the Danish penalty area, which left him completely free, but Müller let the ball slip over the top of his head more than he headed it purposefully, so goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel had little trouble.
The Munich native was his usual active self in his 101st international match, repeatedly triggering the pressing in full sprint, encouraging his colleagues to follow him with rowing arms. But the Germans' attacking play still lacked fine-tuning. From the middle of the first half, the action took place largely in the Danish half, but the Danes did not get into any real trouble. Sané had a good opportunity after a cross from Florian Neuhaus, but put the ball over the goal from five meters. Just before the break, Gnabry hit the crossbar with a shot from 18 meters.
Neuhaus had also initiated this opportunity. The Gladbach man might have a hard time finding a place in the top-class midfield, but he used the absence of the supposed regulars to advertise his own cause. It was Neuhaus who scored the 1:0 two minutes after the break - with a mundane tap-in from five meters.It's been almost exactly two months since the Danes last played in Austria - and celebrated a clear 4-0 victory over Austria in World Cup qualifying. The team of former Mainz coach Kasper Hjulmand is therefore by no means to be underestimated. The Germans did a very good job for long stretches, defended very seriously overall, and still conceded the equalizer 20 minutes before the end through Leipzig's Yussuf Poulsen for the final score of 1-1. Christian Eriksen had found exactly the gap between Mats Hummels and Niklas Süle.
Image by Michal Jarmoluk