KIEV • Germany picked up a first win in their Nations League group on Saturday, with a 2-1 away victory against Ukraine to break their run of three straight draws but coach Joachim Low admitted they could have done better.
He was satisfied with the win even though he rued Ruslan Malinovskyi’s penalty, given away cheaply by Niklas Sule.
The 77th-minute spot kick woke up the 20,000 crowd allowed in Kiev’s Olympic stadium but the visitors managed to see out the remaining danger.
“I’m happy that we won the game. Before we conceded, we could have been 3-0 or 4-0 up. The penalty was unnecessary,” he said. “One positive is that we allowed them few chances from open play.
“We did, however, give the ball away too easily on occasion though. They were tired after it went 2-0. We played with some stability tonight…
“I won’t make many changes to the starting XI against Switzerland if nothing changes.”
Germany can expect a tougher task against Switzerland in Cologne tomorrow and should have scored more, having enjoyed around 75 per cent possession against a weakened Ukraine side.
Low named a full-strength side with the rested Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig players back in the line-up. Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Julian Draxler and Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger were the only survivors of the side who drew against Turkey.
Matthias Ginter gave Germany the lead on 20 minutes, when Rudiger made a good run in the area and squared the ball where the defender was waiting at the far post.
Then Leon Goretzka capitalised on a horrible mistake by the Ukraine goalkeeper.
After drawing their opening Nations League games against Spain and Switzerland, then being held 3-3 by Turkey in a friendly on Wednesday, the win lifted Germany – who did not win a game in the 2018-19 edition – to second in the group behind Spain.
A REAL PITY
Before we conceded, we could have been 3-0 or 4-0 up. The penalty was unnecessary. One positive is that we allowed them few chances from open play.
JOACHIM LOW, Germany football coach, lamenting that his team did not score a hatful of goals against Ukraine in the League A Group 4 game.
“It was important to get the win, but we didn’t take our chances to make it 3-0. It wasn’t the best game from us,” admitted Ginter.
“We lost the ball too often in the first half and made too many sloppy mistakes. We knew that Ukraine would be strong on the break and wanted to avoid this happening. You rarely see so many simple errors in the national team.”