The final was a success. The German national team ended their international year with a win in Armenia. And: The World Cup qualification remained almost flawless.
Nine wins in ten games in World Cup qualification. Germany beats Armenia 4-1 in the group final. Ilkay Gündogan hits twice (45th / 50th), the other goals are scored by Kai Havertz (15th) and Jonas Hofmann (64th). The only flaw in the qualification remains the 1: 2 defeat against North Macedonia in March of this year.
For Flick, who watched the game in the cold Yerevan in his coaching zone in a thick winter coat, the focus is now on Qatar: The national coach will travel to the Persian Gulf to find accommodation this year, the World Cup casting with the national team will be in March continued with probably two test games against then clearly higher-profile opponents.
Corona failures, injuries and a breather for the stars Manuel Neuer or Marco Reus – the DFB convoy had shrunk to 16 field players and three goalkeepers on the 6000-kilometer trip to Yerevan. “Nevertheless the quality is very good,” said the national coach and demanded nothing less than a victory at the end of the World Cup qualification.
At least offensively, the six changes in the DFB team were less noticeable compared to the 9-0 win against Liechtenstein. Havertz, who was last suspended, fitted in well as a replacement for Reus and was very present both as a goal scorer and as a template provider. Defensively, however, there were some wobbles and inadequacies that Flick didn’t like. Knowing that these mistakes will be punished against top nations.
But Armenia is not on the top shelf in world football. That became clear right from the start. After fine preparatory work by Leroy Sané, Havertz missed the huge chance to take the lead after just five minutes. Ten minutes later, the Champions League winner did better. After a great combination over Thomas Müller and Hofmann, the man from Chelsea executed ice cold. It was Havertz’s seventh goal in the DFB jersey.
Another hit prevented Armenia’s goalkeeper Stanislaw Buchnew, who defused a shot by Sané (26). Hofmann was again the template provider. The Gladbacher is one of the winners in the Flick era, this time he was allowed to run more aggressively.
This also meant that the defensive alliance with Thilo Kehrer, Matthias Ginter, Jonathan Tah and David Raum was newly formed. Possibly a reason for the voting problems, because Armenia definitely had opportunities. Eduard Sperzjan put a shot just over the gate after Tah had acted a little too hesitantly (27th). Then Sargis Adamjan from Hoffenheim had a good 1: 1 opportunity after Neuhaus allowed himself a lapse (36th).
So it was only with the converted penalty from Gündogan shortly before the break that calm returned. Taron Woskanjan had brought Neuhaus off his feet, but the French referee Francois Letexier only decided on a penalty after the VAR intervened.
With that the game was almost decided, and the opponent helped a lot after the break. Buchnew let a harmless shot by Gündogan slip through his hands. And Hofmann’s goal was preceded by a bad playback error.
In between, however, there was again carelessness of the DFB selection in the backward movement. If Khoren Bayramyan already had a good opportunity (56th), a penalty from Neuhaus finally helped the hosts to their first goal. The former Dortmund Mchitarjan converted safely and made sure that new replacement Marc-André ter Stegen had to reach behind him in his third appearance in the current qualification. Neuer had zeroed seven times.