Football News

A game of super-subs – Spain 1-1 Germany player ratings

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 21:00, 27 November 2022

Germany kept their World Cup dreams alive following an entertaining 1-1 draw with Spain in Al Khor this evening.

Hansi Flick’s men were given added impetus following Costa Rica’s recovery from that mauling by La Furia Roja to beat Japan earlier today. Even though Germany has one point to show after two games played they are still alive in this competition. A win over the aforementioned Ticos on December 1, coupled with Spain defeating Samauri Blue, will see them cross the line.

In a game of super-subs, the showdown came alive following the break with Alvaro Morata and then Niclas Füllkrug showing their respective team’s starters (Ferran Torres and Thomas Müller) how it’s done.

Here’s how the players rated at Al Bayt Stadium:

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Unai Simón – 5 – Didn’t have much to do in terms of denying Germany from open play but made two crucial errors to give Flick’s men a look at goal. The second of which saw him redeem himself in style. He would thwart Musiala late on but couldn’t do the same regarding Füllkrug.

Dani Carvajal – 5 – The only change from the side that prevailed 7-0 over Costa Rica. Carvajal came in for Azpilicueta at right-back and wasn’t his once swashbuckling self with Spain predominantly channelling their attack down the left flank. He did, however, enjoy a fascinating battle with Musiala.

Rodri – 6 – Made a last-ditch tackle in an unfamiliar centre-back role. But given what he’s good at it comes as no surprise that he touched the ball more times than anyone.

Aymeric Laporte – 6 – Johan Cruyff once spoke about the centre-backs needing to have the “best ball-handling skills”. As Pep Guardiola states, “they bring you out of trouble and set up the forwards”. Aymeric Laporte would have pleased his club boss on tonight’s evidence. 

Jordi Alba – 8 – Another assist for the marauding left-back. Aside from his attacking duties, Alba completed no fewer than five tackles, more than any of his teammates.

Sergio Busquets – 6 – Went into the referee’s book after callously bringing Musiala down. It was a case of the German forward being a step too quick for the veteran Barcelona midfielder. Aside from that single transgression, Busquets was his usual retain-and-recycle self.

Pedri – 7 – The volume of the crowd increased every time he got on the ball. In his ‘interior’ role the Barça youngster was like a Rolls-Royce out there effortlessly gliding across the pitch, winning possession before dictating the game’s tempo with his intrinsic passing. 

Gavi – 7 – Regardless of the strong opinions that followed his ‘Golden Boy’ coronation, there should be no illusions regarding Gavi’s growing status. The hard-working teenage central midfielder stood out with his delicate ball retention and speed of thought. Gavi’s energetic pressing without the ball was also effective.

Marco Asensio – 4 – The least of Spain’s attackers. Asensio’s most notable contribution was skying an effort minutes before Enrique took him off.

Ferran Torres – 5 – Involved without being effective. Torres knack of keeping busy, with his movement in and out of possession, caused Germany’s backline all sorts of problems. Unlucky to not have tested Neuer.

Dani Olmo – 5 – Came spectacularly close to breaking the deadlock early on but saw his rasping effort matched by Neuer in Germany’s goal.


Alvaro Morata (for Torres 54) – 7 – Unlucky not to start but all of that was put behind when he broke the deadlock minutes after coming on. His sixth goal in nine international matches.

Nico Williams (for Gavi 66) – 5 – Made the minutes count in terms of getting on the ball though he couldn’t register his name on the attempts column.

Koke (for Asensio 66) – 4 – Struggled to gain a foothold and subsequently affect the game.

Alejandro Balde (for Alba 82) – N/A – A late sub.


Manuel Neuer – 6 – Was forced into an early outstanding save. Dani Olmo, who netted early into Spain’s opener, struck a fierce right-foot strike at goal but Neuer was equal to it as he palmed Olmo’s effort onto the underside of the bar.

Antonio Rudiger – 5 – Came in for some inundated criticism following the Japan defeat. Thought he reprieved himself with a go-ahead goal before half-time but he wasn’t able to keep onside following Joshua Kimmich’s set-piece.

Niklas Sule – 5 – A once-heralded rising star it’s fair to say Sule hasn’t matched those lofty expectations. Today he was in pragmatic mode, cleaning up rather than serving those ahead of him. Sule would register no fewer than three tackles, more than any of his teammates.

David Raum – 7 – Knew he was going to be in a game with Torres and Gavi — not to mention Alba — operating down his flank. In response, the RB Leipzig full-back made a game-high five interceptions. Even made a crucial block with Torres having only Neuer to beat midway in the opening half.

Thilo Kehrer – 6 – Booked for a rash challenge on Torres, the West Ham right-back made his first World Cup minutes after being an unused substitute in Germany’s opening-round loss. He did manage to stay firm by completing a game-high six tackles.

Joshua Kimmich – 7 – Had one meaningful effort on goal but couldn’t put Germany in front against the run of play. Was his usual energetic self though it wasn’t enough to galvanise a team on the ropes.

Leon Goretzka – 7 – Entered the game with a mindset to be aggressive, which makes sense given the midfield battle laid before him, but all it earned him was a yellow card. He did manage to produce a sensational late tackle deep into second-half stoppage time.

Ilkay Gundogan – 5 – In the 4-2-3-1 system Flick deployed Gündogan was tasked with a deep-lying forward role something we rarely see him play in a Manchester City jersey. That being said, the 32-year-old when possible attempted to link with Müller, but given Spain’s dominance of possession Gündogan often found himself entrenched in a five-man midfield.

Serge Gnabry – 4 – How the four-time World champions could have used the Gnarby who burst onto the international scene in style. Today he was largely anonymous much to his frustration.

Thomas Müller – 5 – A rare ‘centre-forward’ outing for Müller though given his characteristic the wily Raumdeuter was operating more as a ‘false nine’ role. Put in a more credible shift than Kai Havertz whom he replaced, but that’s not saying much.

Jamal Musiala – 8 – Representing Germany’s future. Musiala played on the periphery with Germany adopting a pragmatic approach to Spain’s ball dependency. He nevertheless made his dribbling ability count whenever in possession and like Raum produced a quality block to deny a Torres effort on goal. He really should have equalised in the 73rd minute, but aimed straight at Simon, though made amends in the build-up to Füllkrug’s goal.


Niclas Füllkrug (for Müller 70) – 7 – Has put himself in contention to start against Costa Rica with his stunning late equaliser.

Lukas Klostermann (for Kehrer 70) – 5 – A mixed-bag cameo with Klostermann being dispossessed but showing attacking endeavour.

Leroy Sane (for Gundogan 70) – 5 – No time was wasted on arrival with Sane looking to get on the front foot. There are still lingering questions about his fitness with the Bayern Munich star hoping to play a role in Germany’s upcoming do-or-die Costa Rica showdown.

Jonas Hofmann (for Gnarby 85) – N/A – A late Sub.

Nico Schlotterbeck (for Raum 85) – N/A – A late Sub.