Hungary had stunned Germany with an early goal when these teams met at UEFA EURO 2020, and the hosts needed only six minutes to go ahead in Budapest, Nagy rifling ruthlessly beyond Manuel Neuer after the goalkeeper had beaten Roland Sallai’s header into his path.
An open, attacking start from both sides invited ambition in the middle of the pitch. When Nico Schlotterbeck’s perceptive pass found Hofmann inside the penalty area, the Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder beat the advancing Péter Gulácsi to the delivery, poked the ball past the goalkeeper and calmly slotted in to ensure Germany’s deficit was wiped out within four minutes.
Neuer produced an improvised save to thwart adventurous full-back Attila Fiola’s strike shortly before the break, but the second half offered far less action in either penalty area. Hofmann could not locate Timo Werner with the Hungary goal gaping, and substitute Martin Ádám directed a close-range header in to Neuer’s arms.
Germany’s No1 was forced to tip Dániel Gazdag’s drive from distance over his crossbar in the closing stages and ensure the visitors’ dominance in possession was rewarded with a point. Hungary remain second in the section, a point above Die Mannschaft and one behind leaders Italy.
Both sides will be relatively happy with a point from a match which could have swung either way. The opening few minutes were sensational, the first half action-packed. The second period was less eventful, but nevertheless the game bubbled away until the very end. Overall, neither side were perhaps clinical enough in the final third to warrant the twin. Marco Rossi will be delighted to have four points from his side’s opening three fixtures. For Hansi Flick, though, three from three – and four draws in a row – might be a concern.
Marco Rossi, Hungary coach: “The boys played really well. It wasn’t easy, it took a lot of energy. My team showed me very important skills. We can be happy with the result but we want to improve in possession. The most important thing is that no-one can be sure of getting points against us and they have to show our team respect. We’ve shown that we can run, fight, give our heart and soul. This is what I like best about the team: that they never give up. They always fight.”
Attila Fiola, Hungary defender: “Everyone gave it their all and we had some big chances but we cannot be dissatisfied with the point. Our defence worked well and our attack was more efficient. We will continue to go for the points.”
Péter Gulácsi, Hungary goalkeeper: “Looking at the last 20-to-25 minutes, we had the better chances. We shouldn’t consider it a glass half full but, when you come so close to victory, afterwards there’s always a feeling of ‘what if’. We played well in possession in the first half, we defended well in the second half, and at the end we had opportunities to score.”
Hansi Flick, Germany coach: “We need to make sure we learn our lessons from this game. We lacked a bit of conviction. I won’t go on and start making any excuses: we wanted the three points today and everyone in the dressing room is disappointed that we didn’t get them.”
Germany captain Manuel Neuer, speaking to RTL: “Hungary were a difficult team — you don’t get many chances to score against them. We saw the good sides of our play against England [1-1 draw on Matchday 2]. We have to [improve] against Italy.”
Hungary: Gulácsi; Lang, Orbán, Attila Szalai; Fiola, Ádám Nagy, Styles (Vécsei 87), Zsolt Nagy (Négo 69); Sallai (Gazdag 75), Szoboszlai; Ádám Szalai (Ádám 69)
Germany: Neuer; Kehrer, Süle, Schlotterbeck; J Hofmann (Nmecha 85), Goretzka (Gündoğan 69), Kimmich, Raum; Havertz (Adeyemi 85), Musiala (Brandt 78); Werner (Müller 78)
The four group winners in League A will advance to the knockout finals with, in principle, one appointed as hosts. The semi-finals will be played on 14 and 15 June 2023 with the final and third-place play-off to follow on 18 June.