UEFA Nations League: Ginter, Goeretzka on target as Germany beats Ukraine 2-1

Goals from Matthias Ginter and Leon Goretzka handed Germany its first ever win in the UEFA Nations League, after failing to score in 2018/19 edition.

Matthias Ginter of Germany celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's first ever goal in the UEFA Nations League tournament against Ukraine.   -  Getty Images

Germany scored once in either half to beat host Ukraine 2-1 in the Nations League on Saturday for its first win in four matches and the first ever victory in this competition.

Matthias Ginter put it ahead in the 20th minute after good work from Antonio Ruediger, and Leon Goeretzka pounced on a mistake by Ukraine keeper Georgiy Bushchan to head in the second goal four minutes after the restart.

Despite having the rested Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig players back in the line-up, Germany, which did not win a game in the 2018/19 edition, was far from its best.

In a sloppy first half it repeatedly lost possession, allowing Ukraine to quickly counter attack before Ginter's goal settled the nerves.

Having conceded equalisers in each of its three previous matches, Germany was eager to add to the lead on Saturday and carved out several good chances.

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But Bushchan had a good day making a string of saves before he let the ball slip out of his hands, allowing Goeretzka to score in the 49th.

He then again was on hand to stop them scoring, superbly palming a Serge Gnabry shot wide.

A 77th minute penalty by Ruslan Malinovskyi woke up the 20,000 crowd allowed in the Ukrainian capital's Olympic stadium but the German managed to protect the lead despite desperate late attacks from the hosts.

"Obviously I am happy we won but we could have been leading 3-0 or 4-0," Germany coach Joachim Loew said.

"In some cases we gave up the ball too easily. When we were 2-0 up they were tired and we should have played more counter attacks maybe. But overall we were solid and did not allow them too many chances," he said.

On Tuesday Ukraine hosts Spain while Germany takes on Switzerland. 

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