0-1, Rodrigo 6’. 1-1, Müller 35’.
Germany 1-1 Spain: Word Cup hopefuls entertain in draw

Germany 1-1 Spain: Word Cup hopefuls entertain in draw

Rodrigo's early goal is cancelled out before half-time by Thomas Müller for the hosts in Dusseldorf.

James Rees

Germany and Spain played out an exciting friendly, with Rodrigo’s early goal followed by a cracking equaliser from Thomas Müller.

The Spaniards looked the better side early on, taking the lead when Andrés Iniesta found Rodrigo, however a stunning strike from Bayern Munich’s Müller brought the hosts level ten minutes before the break.

There were plenty more chances in the second half, but neither side could add to the score before the game fizzled out late on.

Spain show the old magic before Müller strike

Both managers named close to their strongest available teams for this game in Düsseldorf between the previous two FIFA World Cup winners. Manuel Neuer remains the most significant absentee for Germany but Marc-André ter Stegen started in goal, whilst Julian Draxler kept Leroy Sané out. Sergio Busquets was injured for Spain, giving Koke a chance in midfielder. Rodrigo was preferred up front by Julen Lopetegui to Diego Costa.

Both sides had early moves forward, but it was the 2010 world champions that scored the first goal with little more than five minutes gone. Mats Hummels, off the pace in his last couple of matches for Bayern Munich, did not see the run from Rodrigo, but Iniesta did, playing the perfect ball for him. The Valencia striker proceeded to beat ter Stegen.

Germany responded with a couple of decent chances. A Joshua Kimmich cross was just missed by Timo Werner, before a shot from Draxler deflected off target. Soon after, Toni Kroos’s free-kick was headed by Gerard Piqué into the path of Jonas Hector, who fired wide. A little later, Werner did likewise after being found by Sami Khedira, although he had been flagged for a tight offside call in any case.

Spain though were playing with a lot more assurance. After beating Hector to a ball in the air, Isco crossed the ball into David Silva in the box, but his shot was on the run was saved by ter Stegen. There was then a minute spell where Spain began to toy with Germany on the edge of the box, passing the ball around like at their tiki-taka best, the move only ended when Khedira fouled Isco. They couldn’t make the most of the free-kick, although Iniesta put a shot over the bar soon after.

Die Mannschaft were not to be outdone though, in what was turning out to be a high-quality first half. The equaliser came when Kroos, through Khedira found Müller, a little outside the box. He took a touch before taking aim and beating David de Gea with comparative ease. A stunning strike to ensure his side went in at the break level.

No more goals but plenty of chances

Germany started the second half on the front foot, with Werner charging forward early to win a corner. It was taken short, with Kroos finding Draxler, whose curling, dipping shot was headed for the top corner, de Gea this time making the save. Werner would then set up Mesut Özil, but with a defender behind him his low strike was little trouble for the Manchester United goalkeeper.

In the space of about 60 seconds, both sides then could have taken the lead. A sweet move from Spain saw Jordi Alba find Isco in the box, with ter Stegen keeping his shot out at close range. The hosts quickly countered, and although Werner’s cross hit Sergio Ramos, Draxler then found Ilkay Gündogan, who minutes after coming on the pitch had a chance on goal sent wide by de Gea.

Spain were starting to ring the changes, whilst only Gündogan had come on at this point for Germany, who then had two more good openings. Werner hit the side netting after being found by Draxler, although de Gea might have got the slightest of touches on the effort. A free-kick just after was dipped into the box by Kroos, with Hummels heading into the bar.

Spain weren’t completely slacking though, as one of their replacements, Marco Asensio, then crossed in at the other, another in Costa missed it and Silva ended up putting it wide. After a mistake from Hector, Costa had the chance to score but Jérôme Boateng blocked, before a few moments later Saúl Ñíguez put a shot over the bar.

Inevitably though for a friendly, the spark in the game eventually died out, with the substitutes on both sides not able to make a massive impact of the game. But overall the game was a good test ahead of the tournament in the summer. Germany head to Berlin now for their first meeting with Brazil since the 2014 World Cup semi-final on Tuesday, whilst Spain host Argentina in Madrid.