Kai Havertz and Timo Werner were largely ineffective as Germany suffered a shock 1-2 defeat to North Macedonia in the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers.
As one would expect Germany had total domination when it came to possession during the first half but the chances were not coming. Leon Goretzka came the closest to scoring when he struck the woodwork but that was as good as it got for Die Roten as North Macedonia went into the break with a 1-0 lead thanks to their 37-year-old captain Goran Pandev.
Germany were able to get back on level terms a little after the hour mark as stand-in captain Ilkay Gundogan put the ball into the net from the penalty spot after Leroy Sane had been fouled. Die Mannschaft had a great chance to wrap up the game around the 80th minute mark but substitute Timo Werner ended up missing a sitter.
And, North Macedonia made the most of their hosts’ profligacy as Eljif Elmas struck home from close range to hand Germany their first defeat at home in a World Cup Qualifier in twenty years. In what was a disastrous outing for Joachim Low’s men, here’s how we rated their performances.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 5/10
Made a good save from Arijan Ademi just before North Macedonia scored the opener. Not a lot he could have done about either goal as he was let down by a sloppy defence.
Matthias Ginter: 5/10
Saw a lot of the ball and was mostly accurate with his distribution while also trying to get forward at times to start attacks. Positioning at the back was a bit suspect time and again, though, leaving gaps for the visitors to exploit.
Antonio Rudiger: 4/10
Booked for dissent in the first half and looked suspect at the back each time North Macedonia broke on the counter. Sloppy on the ball at times which brought on pressure on the team. Caught well out of position for the opening goal and needed to do better to stop the pass for the second one.
Emre Can: 4/10
Esta clamorosa mano de Emre Can no fue considerada penalti a favor de Macedonia por el arbitro ruso Karasev pic.twitter.com/fh1cDRTrwo
— Pepe Elías (@Pepelias17_) March 31, 2021
It was his poor clearance that led to the opening goal for the minnows on Wednesday. Looked out of place in the back three for large parts. Let Pandev free in the box for the first goal and was not in the right position to stop the second one. Lucky not to have given away a penalty for a clear handball as well. Poor.
Joshua Kimmich: 5.5/10
Not one of his best games, with the German ace having had the ball stolen off him at times on the night. Did make four tackles and an interception, but wasn’t able to play those trademark defence-splitting passes from the deep as Germany suffered from his lack of creative edge.
Leroy Sane: 6/10
A bright spark going forward, the Bayern Munich star looked to get on the ball and create openings for his teammates, setting up a chance for Gnabry in the first half and then winning the penalty leading to the equaliser. Finished with three dribbles and a key pass.
Leon Goretzka: 5.5/10
Came the closest to scoring in the first half when he hit the crossbar from the edge of the box. Was not really able to get into the game much though and was guilty of not taking a shot on a couple of occasions when in decent positions, leading to moves breaking down.
Ilkay Gundogan: 6/10
Ilkay Gündogan has now scored 14 goals in 21 starts for club and country in 2021.
In the goalscoring form of his life. pic.twitter.com/RP2LFVYSeR
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 31, 2021
The stand-in captain for Germany in the absence of Manuel Neuer, Gundogan had a quiet first period. Stepped up when needed, though, to convert the penalty and unselfishly squared the ball to Werner for the late chance which the Chelsea ace botched completely.
Robin Gosens: 5.5/10
Fit enough to start, the Atalanta wing-back had a few positive moments on the left in the first half as he whipped in a couple of dangerous crosses into the box. Taken off early in the second half.
Kai Havertz: 5/10
Had been involved in two goals in the last two games for Germany, but on Wednesday he was able to do little of note. Failed to aim a single shot throughout his duration on the field and played two key passes, one of which led to Goretzka’s strike hitting the woodwork. Taken off early in the second half.
Serge Gnabry: 6/10
One of the few positives for Germany on the night, the Bayern Munich man looked to make things happen in the final third. Had a shot saved by the North Macedonian goalkeeper in the first half and fired one over. Played two key passes and was involved in the move leading to Werner’s chance which the striker missed in the latter stages of the game.
Timo Werner: 4/10
Germany have lost 2-1 to North Macedonia, and Timo Werner missed this chance to Germany ahead with 10 minutes to go. pic.twitter.com/pzsgXGZfqS
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) March 31, 2021
Came on for his Chelsea teammate Werner ten minutes into the second half. Made just ten touches in close to forty minutes on the field – Jamal Musiala had more after he came on in the 89th minute. Had a great chance to kill the game off but missed one of the easiest chances he will ever get.
Amin Younes: 5/10
Replaced Gosens in the 56th minute. Played a key pass and had a shot that was blocked by the visitors.
Jamal Musiala: N/A
Got the final six minutes of the game to make an impression. Looked bright but could not find a way back for his team.