England recovered from a 2-0 deficit to lead before Kai Havertz prodded Germany level at the death, concluding a 3-3 draw in the UEFA Nations League with all six goals tumbling in the second half.
Both nations enter the contest fresh from defeats on Friday night, doubtless clouded over a brutal affair. Although England’s midfield pair struggled to offer some front-foot pressure as the visitors built from the back, they were quick to rush in front of the back five, desperate to limit the space between the lines for Germany’s revamped forward line.
Hansi Flick’s side had more of the ball but England were threatening in transition, playing with more focus and urgency compared to their dismal loss to Italy – although the bar was set dangerously low.
Twice in the first half, Raheem Sterling found himself on the end of a hole carved on the counter. On each occasion, however, the Chelsea striker could only produce a lukewarm left-foot effort that was denied by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Germany had no effort on target in the first half, even inside the English box. Yet within six minutes of the restart, Harry Maguire offered the visitors a chance to head home from 12 yards. The much-maligned Manchester United man lazily stroked a pass straight to the feet of Jamal Musiala, combining one mistake with another as he clumsily knocked the teenager to the ground. Ilkay Gundogan coolly converted the penalty.
Buoyed by the opener, the four-time World Cup winners rattled the ball in England’s half with an extra oomph of confidence. Timo Werner came off the bench to add another dimension to Germany’s attack as he teed up Havertz for a superb effort from the edge of the box that crashed off the post on its way into the net in the 67th minute.
Against the course of the game, the home team retreated. One England wingback crossed for the other as Reece James curled a shot past Luke Shaw. Shaw equalized on the other side of the box and his firm effort rattled under Ter Stegen.
After going 526 minutes without a goal from open play, England had to wait just 185 seconds to find another as Gareth Southgate’s two substitutes combined. Bukayo Saka weaved his way through the crowd of white shirts and carried the ball into the path of Mason Mount, who finished with Ter Stegen’s sharp finish.
Saka was heavily involved again before Jude Bellingham got to the ball ahead of Nico Schlotterbeck in the German box. After a quick VAR review, Harry Kane emphatically converted the penalty to give England their third goal in the 11th minute.
However, another loop remained in this second half of the roller coaster. Serge Gnabry – another substitute with an impact on the contest – headed in from distance. Nick Pope spilled a thunderous effort at the feet of Havertz to give the German a chance to get their second level and pull Germany level in the 87th minute.
England vs Germany player ratings – Nations League
1. England (3-4-3)
GK: Nick Pope – 4/10 – Living up to his reputation, Pope was uncertain with the ball at his feet but surprisingly shaky with his gloves as well.
CB: John Stones – N/A – Forced off injured in the first half after a bright and bubbly 37 minutes.
CB: Eric Dier – 6/10 – Got his significant frame in the way when necessary but was aided by the flood of red shirts England stuffed their box with when defending deep.
CB: Harry Maguire – 3/10 – Produced a double-edged blunder that will only stoke the raging fire his inclusion in the squad sparked.
RWB: Reece James – 5/10 – Skirted around the fringes of the contest as England leaned towards their left going forward.
CM: Jude Bellingham – 7/10 – Grew into the game with his energy and urgency infectious.
CM: Declan Rice – 6/10 – Stormed into tackles with enthusiasm and exuberance if not efficiency.
LWB: Luke Shaw – 7/10 – Denied a devilish assist in the first half as he offered England’s greatest penetrative passing threat before getting the goal that kickstarted the comeback.
RW: Phil Foden – 5/10 – Failed to pick the correct option too often at the crucial moment.
ST: Harry Kane – 7/10 – Flashed an audacious attempted volley a whisker past the post before converting a more orthodox opening from 12 yards.
LW: Raheem Sterling – 6/10 – Exploited his quick feet and mind to sprint into the right space on the break but failed to match his run with a finish.
SUB: Kyle Walker (37′ for Stones) – 6/10 – Bailed out his old Tottenham teammate after Dier slipped in the box.
SUB: Bukayo Saka (66′ for Foden) – 7/10 – Transformative off the bench, injecting a verve to England’s attack with an unashamed directness.
SUB: Mason Mount (66′ for Sterling) – 7/10 – Curled in brilliantly and added a zip to England’s play in the final third.
SUB: Jordan Henderson (90+1′ for Bellingham) – N/A
Manager: Gareth Southgate – 7/10 – Unquestionably inspired an improved performance, ensuring England’s two-man midfield wasn’t quite as overrun as it often is and actively impacting the match with his substitutions – for once.
2. Germany (4-2-3-1)
GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen – 6/10 – Kept the game goalless as he anticipated Sterling’s first-half effort superbly, unlucky to see Shaw’s attempt squirm over the line.
RB: Thilo Kehrer – 5/10 – The West Ham defender was tasked with a flexible role, pushing forward into England’s box one minute while tucking alongside Sule the next.
CB: Niklas Sule – 6/10 – With a swiftness that belied his lumbering frame, Sule was adept at striding forward with the ball on the end of his toe.
CB: Nico Schlotterbeck – 4/10 – Adopted a proactive approach from the first whistle which cost him in the second half.
LB: David Raum – 5/10 – Provided the width down Germany’s left as both fullbacks were given the freedom to push high up the pitch.
CM: Joshua Kimmich – 6/10 – Dropping between the centre-backs to collect the ball, Kimmich was the funnel through which Germany’s play flowed.
CM: Ilkay Gundogan – 6/10 – Just as he did in the 2013 Champions League final on this ground, Gundogan converted his penalty.
AM: Jamal Musiala – 7/10 – Floating with menace in the narrow slither of space England tried to limit between their line of midfield and defence.
RW: Jonas Hofmann – 5/10 – Carried the ball well on the rare occasions he had space to canter into. A little harshly taken off at halftime.
ST: Kai Havertz – 7/10 – Anonymous in the first half but utterly integral from a deeper role after the break.
LW: Leroy Sane – 5/10 – Buzzing in off the left to provide another option in Germany’s crowded middle slice of the pitch.
SUB: Timo Werner (46′ for Hofmann) – 6/10 – Offered a different threat with his jet-heeled pace.
SUB: Serge Gnabry (68′ for Sane) – 5/10
SUB: Robin Gosens (68′ for Raum) – 5/10
SUB: Thomas Muller (79′ for Musiala) – N/A
SUB: Armel Bella-Kotchap (90+1′ for Haverz) – N/A
Manager: Hansi Flick – 6/10 – Just like his opposite number, Flick’s substitutions undoubtedly influenced the contest – though they did have to rely upon unreliably clinical finishing.