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Gosens on his premiere goal: “I’ve already had a run-in “

Germany’s European Championship squad is taking on firm contours

The victory in the last European Championship test was clear for the German team: The 7:1 against the sparring partner Latvia was good for the feeling – and might have encouraged national coach Joachim Löw in his personnel selection.

Robin Gosens’ career path is commonly described as “a little different than usual”. The Atalanta Bergamo left-back did not emerge from a youth development centre, but has fought his way into the German national team via a few detours and numerous village pitches. The 26-year-old therefore doesn’t play like a classic NLZ player – and he doesn’t talk like one either. Both could also be observed during the German team’s 7:1 victory in the last European Championship test against Latvia on Monday evening in Düsseldorf.

“What can I say? For me it was a perfect evening. The family was there, finally there were some spectators. I scored my first goal – I had a blast,” said Gosens after the victory in Düsseldorf, which he garnished with his debut goal in the DFB jersey, beaming into the webcam of the virtual press conference. He was undoubtedly one of the winners of this evening – and of the preparation as a whole. For the left-footer had also shown against the world’s 138th-ranked team that he is quite rightly on the way to becoming a permanent fixture in the national team thanks to his dynamism and attacking drive.

The way he initiated his own opening 1:0, then got into position after a pass to Kai Havertz in the penalty area before driving his teammate’s return into the corner with his strong left hand was beautiful to watch – and more reminiscent of a winger than a defender. Which also went some way to answering the question of whether the three-man/five-man chain chosen by national coach Joachim Löw was not too defensive.

Havertz should have a starting place

Gosens was not the only one to make a positive impression in front of 1000 spectators in Düsseldorf. Havertz also got himself into position opposite Leroy Sané and should have his starting place safe for the European Championship opener against France in a week’s time on Tuesday. Thomas Müller headed home his first goal since his comeback, Mats Hummels unpacked his outside arm to set up Serge Gnabry in spectacular fashion, Ilkay Gündogan hit a superb corner with his weaker foot. Yes, there was plenty for the fans to cheer about this evening. And the national coach could also be satisfied with his choice of personnel. The European Championship eleven is taking shape, even if Löw emphasised that he wanted to keep the competition going for a few more days. De facto, the starting eleven is set, also with regard to Joshua Kimmich, who played on the right flank against Latvia and should also start the tournament there.

But of course, when assessing this evening, one must not forget against whom this easy victory was achieved: Latvia is not a barometer for the European Championship, but rather a well-meaning sparring partner who kept their distance and rarely ventured forward. The fact that the visitors still managed to score was one of the few annoyances from Germany’s point of view. Keeper Manuel Neuer in particular might have wished for something different for his 100th international match than to be overcome by the blatant underdog with the only shot on goal. The goal conceded by Aleksejs Saveljevs, however, was not the fault of the Munich player, but rather of substitutes Emre Can and Niklas Süle, who did not counter consistently after a throw-in by the Latvians.