It was honours even in Gothenburg as Spain and Germany finished goalless in their European U-21 Championship Group B opener…
Spain U-21 0-0 Germany U-21
A steady, if unspectacular game finished scoreless as Spain and Germany snatched a point apiece in a match which saw Mesut Oezil grab the limelight.
Spain began brightly showing that they were extremely comfortable on the ball and within the first minute Bojan fed Raul Garcia on the edge of the box and his shot forced Manuel Neuer into a save.
The Spaniards continued to dominate the early possession and forced the next chance after five minutes when midfielder Granero got forward, but his shot from 18 meters out wasn’t a problem for Neuer in the German goal.
Germany’s first opportunity presented itself soon after when Oezil broke down the right and picked out the correct ball towards Ashkan Dejagah. Defender Marc Torrejon was forced into a last-ditch clearance which could well have gone in for an own goal.
Germany settled into the game a lot more after Spain had dominated and Horst Hrubesch’s side put together a few good passing combo's of their own. Hamburg’s Dennis Aogo fired in a long-range effort on 11 minutes, but it just lacked the power to trouble Asenjo in the Spain goal.
Just after the half-hour mark Spain went very close to opening the scoring on two occasions in quick succession. Chico was first denied by the out-rushing Neuer before Torrejon headed a corner against the crossbar.
Werder Bremen’s Oezil was shining and on 36 minutes he produced a moment of brilliance as he beat two Spanish defenders on the byline before being denied by goalkeeper Asenjo.
Germany finished the second-half strongly with both substitute Marcell Schaefer and Oezil both going close as the game headed towards the interval.
Germany and Oezil in particular began the second period brightly and Dejagah wasted a great chance that Oezil had put on a plate for him.
It really was the Mesut Oezil show inside the Gamla Ullevi as the Werder Bremen midfielder was denied the opening goal by Sergio Asenjo.
A long-throw from Neuer saw Dejagah clean through down the left and his ball inside of the area found Oezil. He rounded the keeper only to see his goal-bound effort saved by the Real Valladolid shot-stopper as he retreated.
As it was, neither side were able to find that extra something to score and the game ended all-square. Next up for Spain is England, whereas Germany face Finland in their next game.
Spain: Asenjo, Sergio Sanchez, Chico, Torrejon, Monreal, Javi Martinez, Raul Garcia, Sisi (Capel 69), Granero (Leon 87), Jurado, Bojan (Xisco 82)
Germany: Neuer, Beck, Hoewedes, J.Boateng, Boenisch (Schmelzer 38), Khedira, Aogo, Castro (Ebert 86), Marin (Ben Hatira 69), Dejagah, Oezil
Mathew Burt, Goal.com