Gini Wijnaldum produces midfield masterclass as Netherlands seal first win in Germany since 2002

7 September 2019

Gini Wijnaldum scored one, assisted one and shone in an advanced midfield role as the Netherlands fought hard for a 4-2 victory over Germany on Friday night.


The win puts the Dutch back in contention for automatic qualification for Euro 2020, currently sitting third in a Group C table topped by Northern Ireland.

Ronald Koeman’s side have played at least one game fewer than the rest of the group, completed by Belarus and Estonia, with their final five remaining qualifiers decidedly more comfortable.

Wijnaldum started alongside Marten de Roon and Frenkie de Jong in midfield in Hamburg, with Virgil van Dijk captaining the side from centre-back, partnered by Matthijs de Ligt.

Given the license to roam with the stability provided by De Roon and De Jong, Wijnaldum was able to showcase the front-footed talents often stifled in his duties for Liverpool.

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Germany opened the scoring within nine minutes through Serge Gnabry, and it took the Netherlands almost until the hour mark to level, De Jong beating Manuel Neuer after he had denied Wijnaldum minutes earlier.

The visitors went ahead after Neuer palmed out Van Dijk’s header from a corner, with the ball back in eventually turned in by Jonathan Tah for an own goal.

Toni Kroos equalised from the spot after a controversial handball decision on De Ligt, but from there Wijnaldum turned it on to help inspire a huge victory.

It was his pressing on the left flank that allowed Daley Blind to feed the ball into Memphis Depay and, receiving the ball back on the overlap, Wijnaldum dinked a brilliant pass across for Donyell Malen to fire home.

And then with Nathan Ake winning the ball deep into the Netherlands’ half, Wijnaldum was able to launch a brilliant counter-attack which ultimately saw him tap in after a lung-bursting 65-yard run to make it 4-2.

Virgil van Dijk of Holland during the UEFA Nations League A group 1 qualifying match between The Netherlands and Germany at the Johan Cruijff Arena on October 13, 2018 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Tom Bode/VI Images/PA Images)

This was the Netherlands’ first victory on German soil since a 3-1 triumph in November of 2002, and comes just under a year on from a fine 3-0 win over their rivals in the UEFA Nations League—in which both Van Dijk and Wijnaldum scored.

The Liverpool duo both played the full 90 minutes on Friday night, with Wijnaldum often untouchable in midfield, with his ability to shield the ball and dribble out of danger.

His attacking instincts are at times lacking with the Reds, though this is due to the demands of Jurgen Klopp‘s system.

It is certainly a useful option to have, particularly as Naby Keita remains sidelined.

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