Thomas Muller scored a late winner as Germany edged past Romania 2-1 at Volksparkstadion in a FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifier on Friday evening.

Germany’s winning streak under new coach Hansi Flick continues as they edge past Romania 2-1 in Hamburg on Friday. The win helps them move one step closer to securing the top spot in Group J, in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

It was certainly not a walk in the park for the Germans, though, as they conceded their first goal under Flick when Ianis Hagi amused everyone to beat the defence all by himself and find the back of the net in the 9th minute. Romania’s shock equaliser put Germany on the back foot throughout the first half, although the hosts did create numerous opportunities to try and find the equaliser.

The goal finally arrived in the 52nd minute thanks to Serge Gnabry’s strike from outside the box. Romania never really managed to create too many opportunities afterwards, with Germany dominating the game. They were a bit wasteful in front of goal, though.

But just when it seemed like the game was heading towards a stalemate, the substitute Thomas Muller evaded everyone to find the late winner in the 81st minute, effectively sealing all three points for his country.

Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the German players in their narrow win over Romania this Friday.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6.5/10

Marc Andre ter Stegen was beaten quite by Ianis Hagi for Germany’s first goal, though there was very little he could have done. After that, it was a stroll in the park for the Barcelona goalkeeper as Romania failed to attempt a single shot on target. He would be disappointed to have missed the clean sheet, though.

Jonas Hofmann: 6.5/10

Jonas Hofmann had a slow start to the game, but soon settling into it. Operating at right-back, the Gladbach star made marauding runs forward to offer maximum support to the attackers in the final third. Almost none of his forays down the flanks were particularly dangerous, but it did keep Romanian defenders busy.

Niklas Sule: 7.5/10

Niklas Sule produced a solid defensive display at the heart of the German backline. He was particularly useful in marking George Puscas out of the game as his intimidating figure made it harder for Romanian forward to make his presence felt.

Antonio Rudiger: 6.5/10

Antonio Rudiger was culpable for conceding the early goal for Germany. He was way too incompetent, notably getting nutmegged by Hagi inside the box before the young winger beat ter Stegen. It was not a good look from the Chelsea centre-back, though he did improve after that opener.

Thilo Kehrer: 6.5/10

Thilo Kehrer also endured a rough start to the contest, even making a defensive error that could have led to Romania’s second goal. The former Schalke prodigy, though, settled himself as the game progressed. He provided security while occasionally making attacking runs forward.

Leon Goretzka: 7.5/10

Speaking of former Schalke prodigies, Leon Goretzka made a solid impression with his work ethic and aggression. His willingness to win back possession for his team made him an ideal fit for Flick’s high-intense setup. As such, the midfielder thrived in the middle, alongside Joshua Kimmich while notably assisting Thomas Muller’s late winner.

Joshua Kimmich: 8/10

While Goretzka was a menace with his aggression, Joshua Kimmich offered the control in the German midfield with his ability to rotate possession. He was extremely secure in possession, often spraying the ball all across the pitch. He was useful in his tackles as well, barely allowing the Romania counterparts to dominate themselves.

Serge Gnabry: 8.5/10

Serge Gnabry was arguably Germany’s best player on the pitch. He was a menace down the right hand side, often taking the opposition defenders and linking up with teammates to create chances in the final third. It was his long-range effort that led to Germany’s equaliser as well, and the winger could have scored at least once more to cap off an otherwise excellent performance.

Marco Reus: 7/10

Marco Reus was given the nod ahead of Thomas Muller and Kai Havertz, and it was a mixed display from the Borussia Dortmund captain. Operating in the number ten role, Reus was involved in many chances created for Germany, but his performance deteriorated in the second half, with the attacker also missing a golden opportunity before being subbed off.

Leroy Sane: 7/10

Leroy Sane made life difficult for the opposition defence with his pace and trickery on the left flank. However, the Bayern Munich winger was very selfish, at times, often trying to find the back of the net himself rather than passing out to his teammates in the final third. It was an active and busy display, nonetheless.

Timo Werner: 6.5/10

Timo Werner produced a trademark performance against Romania. He made clever runs and found himself in various scoring positions, but the Chelsea forward could never really find the finish. It remains to be seen whether the ex-RB Leipzig star gets replaced in the next game, with Karim Adeyemi making quite a push for a place in the starting eleven.

SUBSTITUTES

Thomas Muller: 7/10

Thomas Muller came on for Werner during the midway point of the second half. He was involved in Germany’s attacking play and eventually found the back of the net thanks to some clever movements.

Kai Havertz: 6/10

Kai Havertz didn’t really make too much of an impact after coming on for Reus during the 67th-minute mark.

Lukas Klostermann: N/A

A late replacement for Hofmann. Didn’t play enough to warrant a rating.

Karim Adeyemi: N/A

A late replacement for Sane. Didn’t play enough to warrant a rating.

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