Germany kicked off their bid for a fourth European Championship crown with a 2-0 win over Ukraine in their Group C opener at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Sunday night.
- Germany 2 Ukraine 0
- Mustafi gives Germans early lead
- Boateng makes goal-line clearance
- Pyatov pulls off numerous saves
- Schweinsteiger seals victory late on
The world champions took the lead after just 19 minutes when Shkodran Mustafi headed home a free-kick, although they were indebted to Jerome Boateng for going into the break one-up after he made an acrobatic goal-line clearance to deny Yevhen Konoplyanka from equalising on 37 minutes.
The Euro 2012 co-hosts made life difficult for Joachim Low’s side, but they finally managed to seal the win in stoppage time as Bastian Schweinsteiger slotted in at the far post from Mesut Ozil’s pass.
Ukraine did cause the Germans a few problems and they created the first chance of the match after just four minutes when Konoplyanka connected with Artem Fedetskiy’s low cross to force a fine save out of Manuel Neuer.
Die Mannschaft had a glorious opportunity to break the deadlock on 12 minutes as Thomas Muller set up Jonas Hector with a header, but the left-back lacked composure and missed the target.
But the opener arrived soon afterwards with Germany celebrating the lead after Toni Kroos’ free-kick from the right was powered home by Mustafi from six yards out on 19 minutes.
Mykhaylo Fomenko’s men looked to respond and Yevhen Khacheridi went close with a header from Konoplyanka’s cross that was tipped over the crossbar by Neuer on 27 minutes.
Moments later Andriy Pyatov was called into action at the other end to keep out Sami Khedira after he had been played in on goal by Kroos, while the Ukrainians almost equalised nine minutes before the break, but for Boateng’s timely intervention.
Andriy Yarmolenko’s cross from the right found Konoplyanka in an unmarked position at the back post and the striker met the ball on the half-volley to seemingly level the contest, only for Boateng to acrobatically kick the ball off the line as he fell into the back of the net.
Germany then survived another scare within minutes as Yarmolenko had the ball in the back of the net, but the goal was ruled out for offside.
Julian Draxler looked to extend his team’s lead early in the second half with a fierce strike that tested Pyatov, while back up at the other end Neuer had to push a free-kick from Yaroslav Rakitskiy around the post.
Pyatov was the busier of the two keepers, however, and he had to be alert to prevent Khedira from steering the ball into the top corner, before parrying Thomas Muller’s shot to safety and denying Ozil from close range.
But he was finally beaten again at the death as a swift counter-attack saw Ozil pick out an open Schweinsteiger at the far post and the midfielder beat Pyatov from just a few yards out.