Status: 11/16/2022 7:59 p.m
The German national team narrowly won the last game before the World Cup 1-0 (0-0). Debutant Niclas Füllkrug of all people scored the decisive goal against Oman.
The Bremen striker scored the evening’s goal in Oman’s capital Muscat in the 80th minute. However, the late goal could not hide the fact that the exhausted looking German team presented anything but in World Cup mode. The DFB-Elf struggled for long stretches and could have fallen behind against the team from the Sultanate.
Germany had previously won all World Cup dress rehearsals since 1982, four and a half years ago with a poor 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia.
“In the end I’m happy that I was able to help,” said goal scorer Füllkrug: “But you have to be realistic about it. It’s only now that everything is at stake.”
Bayern trio initially rested
A week before the first World Cup game in Qatar against Japan (Wednesday, November 23, 2022, 2 p.m.), national coach Hansi Flick sent a team onto the field that lacked a number of top performers. The FC Bayern trio of Joshua Kimmich, Jamal Musiala and Serge Gnabry initially stayed outside. In addition, Thomas Müller and Antonio Rüdiger, who were not yet fit, took a break. On the other hand, Leipzig full-back Lukas Klostermann, who played his first game after a foot injury at the beginning of the season, was able to gain a little match practice.
The German players clearly noticed the very short break after the last Bundesliga matchday last weekend. With muggy temperatures of 28 degrees in Muscat, it was precious little what the DFB crackers showed the 25,000 spectators in the Sultan Sports Complex. Many play errors, imprecise passes, hardly any combinations: The offensive in the 4-2-3-1 system with Jonas Hofmann, Kai Havertz and Leroy Sané rarely got the opposing defense moving.
Moukoko fourth youngest debutant
Youssafa Moukoko, who made his debut in the senior national team four days before his 18th birthday and is now the fourth youngest senior national player with the DFB, was nervous in the first game for Germany. He missed an unusual number of balls. After all, he had the best German chance in round one. Shortly before the break, the BVB shooting star hit the post with a hard low shot.
On the other hand, the team from Oman, which ranks 75th in the world between El Salvador and Israel, was quite equal. The team of the Croatian coach Branko Ivankovic acted much livelier and lively than the Germans and always had fast vertical balls in stock that challenged the German defense again and again. With better degrees, a leadership of Oman would have been well deserved.
Four changes at the break
Flick made four changes at the break – after 30 minutes he had already swapped Armel Bella Kotschap for Klostermann, as agreed. Niclas Füllkrug came on for Moukoko and also made his debut, and Christian Günther, Nico Schlotterbeck and Kimmich were also allowed to play.
Immediately there was more train in the German game, and Füllkrug almost scored early after a few minutes in his first national team appearance. In the 53rd minute he was saved from a good position by Al-Mukhaini in the Oman goal.
Füllkrug celebrates his goal against Oman.
Image: Reuters / Annegret Hilse
Filling jug meets ice cold
Germany now acted more on the outside, also to feed Füllkrug in the center with crosses. But the men from the sultanate initially withstood the pressure from the Germans. And they repeatedly launched relief attacks. One of them almost led to the lead. But Al-Ghassani missed the empty goal – somewhat lying on his back.
When the worry lines on Flick’s forehead grew, his team struck. Niclas Füllkrug took a pass from Kai Havertz with the first contact and coolly overcame the strong Oman keeper with a low shot. The debut of the Werder striker, who had never worn a German selection kit, could not have gone better. And thanks to the filling mug, the Flick team was spared an embarrassment shortly before the start of the World Cup.