Hungary twice led Germany in Munich but were knocked out of UEFA EURO 2020 after Leon Goretzka’s late equaliser in a 2-2 draw at the Allianz Arena.
Germany were hoping to follow up their convincing 4-2 victory over reigning champions Portugal but they found a tough test in Hungary whose determination was clear to see despite being the underdogs.
A supposedly comfortable victory for Die Mannschaft were quickly humbled by an early Adam Szalai header, giving Germany the worst possible start.
The hosts were lacklustre in possession and struggled for creativity until they found a breakthrough when Hungary keeper Peter Gulacsi allowed Kai Havertz to equalise from close range after a costly error.
Just 91 seconds later and Hungary were back in front, silencing the celebrations of the Germany fans. Szalai was again involved and set up Andras Schafer who slotted past Manuel Neuer to send Germany to the bottom of the group.
Die Mannschaft were on the verge of exiting a major tournament for the second successive time in the group stages.
However, Goretzka stepped up in the final few minutes to fire home and send Germany through to the knockout stages and set up a fiery encounter with old enemies England at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday.
It was a tough goal to take for Hungary who could not provide another shock to save their Euro’s campaign. This game was a reminder of their similar heroics against Portugal at Euro 2016 and they can hold their head high, having given the tournament a real good go especially in the ‘group of death.’
Germany’s true nature shown
The intensity and drive shown against Portugal looked like a distant memory and they struggled to handle Hungary on many occasions.
Despite having 70% of the ball, the stagnant use of possession seemed to be returning. When Mats Hummels was caught out for the first goal, Germany were facing an embarrassing exit.
Germany’s Euro campaign seemed to be washing away with the rain until Joachim Low decided to change tactics, moving to a back four with Joshua Kimmich playing in midfield.
Hope came in the Havertz equaliser but Germany threw away their lead so quickly before turning to the bench as a last-minute bid to qualify.
Luckily, Goretzka was on hand to save Germany and get that all-important point that sets up a clash with England in the round of 16.
Despite finishing second, Germany’s chances of winning the Euros look very slim and they do not look consistent enough to overturn the big teams.
Goretzka spared the host’s blushes
Goretzka has been an ever-present figure in recent years for Germany and showed his class yet again under pressure to spare embarrassment and send Germany through.
The Bayern Munich midfielder came on for Ilkay Gundogan who was uninspiring and his introduction added some much-needed urgency in the side.
Despite Germany’s struggles, Goretzka provided one moment of sheer class to take his goal brilliantly.
Germany will need Goretzka to provide quality again as they face a tough test in England on Tuesday.
Kimmich has to play in midfield
When Hungary went 1-0 early on, Germany still looked passive and slow in possession with little urgency to go and grab a goal.
Kimmich was wasted in a defensive role especially with his ability to provide goals and assists with his impressive ability to pick out key passes and carry the ball forward.
Eventually, Low moved Kimmich further up the field into a midfield role which allowed him to express himself and get more involved in the attack.
Kimmich is crucial for Germany as well as Goretzka and both will play a big part in their attempts to overcome England.
Substitutes saved Germany’s Euro campaign
Havertz’s equaliser was short lived when Schafer put Hungary ahead and it got even worse when Cristiano Ronaldo equalised for Portugal with his second penalty of the game.
Germany were staring at an early trip home from the tournament and they had to act fast in order to prevent that from happening.
Teenager Jamal Musiala and striker Kevin Volland were brought on to provide more energy upfront and Musiala wasted no time in giving a helping hand.
Musiala got himself in a great position and twisted away from his man before cutting the ball back to Goretzka to grab the winner for Germany.
There are positives to take from qualification but Germany will need to be better in order to progress further in this tournament.