There were several positives for Germany and Spain as they kicked off their preparation for the World Cup with a 1-1 draw in Dusseldorf on Friday.
The match pitted two of the favourites for this summer’s World Cup, and it was a keenly contested affair throughout the 90 minutes. The visitors didn’t take long to grab a foothold in the game as Andres Iniesta set Rodrigo Moreno with a delicious through ball, with the latter coolly scoring past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Germany were subsequently slightly better of the two sides as Jonas Hector and Timo Werner came close before Thomas Muller equalised with a sublime long-range effort in the 35th minute. Thereafter, there was no shortage of action, but the score remained level as ter Stegen and David De Gea proved just why they are two of the best goalkeepers in the world.
Germany 1-1 Spain FT:
6′ ⚽️ Rodrigo
35′ ⚽️ Muller
David de Gea’s excellent save in the second half extends Spain’s unbeaten run under Julen Lopetegui to 17 games 🇪🇸 pic.twitter.com/TtdjWl0RdG
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 23, 2018
In the end, an evenly contested affair helped both teams solidify their respective credentials for the World Cup in the build up to the tournament. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Joachim Low and Julen Lopetegui’s men following an entertaining stalemate.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6.5/10
There were certain aspects of his game that ter Stegen aced on Friday, and some that he didn’t. While his shot stopping was fantastic, his usually astute distribution was poor on the night, and he couldn’t have done much for Spain’s goal.
Joshua Kimmich: 5/10
Kimmich was a major factor with his forward runs as he put in some delightfully dangerous crosses into the box. But, that meant that he often tended to lose the ball sloppily and leave space behind him, which Iniesta and Isco exploited smartly.
Mats Hummels: 5/10
It was Hummels’ mistake that led to Rodrigo’s goal as he was caught out of position, leaving ter Stegen stranded and helpless. The trend continued for much of the game, although his build-up play from the back was often fantastic. Should have scored from a header, but the woodwork came in his way.
Jerome Boateng: 8/10
A colossal figure at the back, Boateng made up for the errors in Hummels’ ways quite regularly, using his experience to good effect. A last-ditch block on Diego Costa ensured the game remained all square, and this outing will provide a boost in confidence.
Jonas Hector: 5/10
Making his comeback in the national side, Hector didn’t exactly have a game to remember. His delivery from the left flank was poor, and the FC Koln man looked shaky at times, at the back.
Sami Khedira: 6/10
Germany’s captain on the night wasn’t his usual industrious self. His defensive output was quite average by his lofty standard, and his passing was often sloppy, although the Juventus midfielder did provide the pass for Muller’s goal.
Toni Kroos: 7.5/10
Kroos made up for where Khedira was lacking, at least in his forward forays as his passing was effective and penetrative. The Real Madrid superstar also set Hummels up with a free-kick that should have yielded the winner, and the German engine room seems to be in good hands.
Thomas Muller: 7.5/10
Muller what a beauty! pic.twitter.com/kmhwX7oKO5
— DB10 (@ArsenalizeIt) March 23, 2018
It wasn’t the best of performances by Muller, who has been a transformed player of late. But, he showed that he is well into World Cup mode as he scored a magnificent long-range goal. Other than that, he did take up good positions at times, and will be a vital cog for Die Mannschaft.
Mesut Ozil: 5/10
A poor performance by Ozil, who was sluggish for the most part on the night, with his passing range unusually off. Was slightly improved after the break, but not enough to influence the proceedings.
Julian Draxler: 5/10
Draxler hasn’t played much at the club level this season, and his rustiness was palpable for much of the game. He could have had a goal to remember though, if not for De Gea, but he needs to do more to remain ahead of Leroy Sane in the pecking order.
Timo Werner: 6/10
Werner put in a good shift upfront for Germany, using his pace to keep the Spanish defenders on their toes. But, he was rarely backed up by ample support, which meant that he couldn’t affect the game as much as he would have liked, although his finishing could have been better too.
David De Gea: 8/10
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) March 23, 2018
The goalkeeping extraordinaire was in his elements once again on Friday. De Gea did start the match on a slow note, but he was impenetrable once he grew into it, making two top notch saves to deny Draxler and Ilkay Gundogan. Couldn’t have done much to stop Muller’s shot.
Dani Carvajal: 5/10
Carvajal seemed off-pace for much of the game, and lacked understanding to link up well with his teammates. The Real Madrid man just couldn’t get going on the night.
Gerard Pique: 6.5/10
Pique gave a good account of himself, combining well with Sergio Ramos at the heart of the Spain defence even though they had their hands full with Werner. But, he was forced off the pitch in the 50th minute, and is now a concern for both club and country.
Sergio Ramos: 7.5/10
Making his 150th appearance, Ramos looked every bit the leader Spain need their captain to be, organising the defence smartly. Absolutely nothing went past him in the air, and he was solid in his reading of the game too.
Jordi Alba: 5.5/10
Not quite at the level he usually operates at for Barcelona, especially at the back. Did provide the width in the final third, but his decision making was often poor as regards his passing and shooting.
Koke had to do a lot of dirty work in midfield in the absence of Sergio Busquets. And although he was largely unspectacular, the Atletico Madrid man was effective in his job, absorbing a lot of the pressure in the middle while also swiftly rotating the ball.
Andres Iniesta: 8.5/10
His peak years may be well behind him, but Iniesta remains the most important player for Spain heading into the World Cup. On Friday, the Barcelona captain proved just that. He was the best player on the pitch despite playing just one half, finding pockets of space and his link-up play was absolutely marvellous.
Thiago Alcantara: 7/10
It is often said that Busquets’ absence has to be covered by two men, and that was the case on Friday as the job of dictating the tempo of the game fell on Thiago, and he did that diligently, transitioning quickly from defence to attack.
David Silva: 7/10
Silva worked well alongside Iniesta in midfield, increasing the tempo of the game effectively. But, his end product was missing at times, something that he can improve on going forward.
A surprise selection upfront ahead of Diego Costa, Rodrigo vindicated his manager’s decision by opening the scoring for Spain. Apart from the goal, the Valencia striker worked hard, pressing smartly and diligently.
Lopetegui’s go-to man was in his elements on Friday, in stark contrast to his form for Real Madrid. Isco used his nippy movement to create pockets of space and was a creative powerhouse, but he was also guilty of holding the ball for too long, at times – a tendency that must be curbed.