It was far from being a stroll in the pitch for the inexperienced Germans against the might of India. The Honamas were sans the services of several key players such as regular captain Mat Grambusch, Niklas Wellen, Christopher Ruhr, Gonazlo Peillat, and Lukas Windfeder. The Andre Henning-coached side struggled to express themselves as the early exchanges bordered on mediocrity before the match came to life with India gradually taking the attack to the opposition. The lack of firepower of the Germans was amply evident as India outplayed them to pull off a 3-0 win and now are firmly perched on top of the standings with 24 points from 11 matches.
The German forwardline to be brutally honest, was non-existent. Barring Max Silanogul’s superb baseline run that could have caught the Indian defence napping but for a timely goalmouth clearance by Harmanpreet Singh, the Indian deep defence hardly appeared to be in a spot of bother. The Indian forwardline exuded more purpose with Abhishek and Akashdeep Singh threatening to breach the German goal and it was their combined efforts that fetch India’s first penalty corner that went abegging. Harmanpreet Singh atoned for that, rattling the backboard off India’s second short corner to draw first blood. It was the Indian vice-captain again, who fired home another penalty corner to ensure India was in the box seat at half-time.
There was no serious fightback mounted by Germany in the second half as India continued to hold sway. Just as the third quarter was drawing to a close, India pressed home the advantage when Abhishek got his stick to a short corner drag-flick by Harmanpreet Singh denying the latter a hat-trick, not that the fullback would be complaining about.
Michel Struthoff perhaps had the best opportunity to open the scoring for Germany in the final quarter but his rasping shot was foiled by Sreejesh. Otherwise, the raids from the Honamas was far and few between. This was India’s 22nd win over Germany in 102 international meetings. Germany would have a lot of soul-searching to do before Friday’s second leg tie.