Germany were held by the reigning world champions France 0-0 in the Allianz Arena on Thursday, in what was their first UEFA Nations League game and a first glimpse of competitive action since the World Cup for both sets of players.
It was a battle of the two sets of midfielders from the very first whistle, as both sides were set up tactically in a similar sort of way but with a general lack of cutting edge throughout.
There was a general lack of excitement in the first half with the only real chance coming from France's Oliver Giroud and his glancing header which barely troubled Manuel Neuer.
The hosts took control of the second half but a lack of creative spark was effectively their downfall as they failed to find the breakthrough on a cold and rainy night in Munich.
Here is the full breakdown of the UEFA Nations League encounter...
Key Talking Point
Die Mannschaft walked out to a chorus of cheers and a heart shaped mosaic to illustrate unity with their team after a disappointing World Cup out in Russia.
It was evident that head coach Joachim Low was trying implement a new system but they were still nowhere near effective enough in the first half. There was not enough defence-splitting passes to give Low's side a competitive edge, which was all too familiar to what was witnessed by the German faithful at the World Cup.
The decision was made to leave out Manchester City's Leroy Sane, yet again. The four-time world champions are screaming out for a creative player who can make a difference and it remains a mystery as to why he did not start.
It took until 70 minutes for the creative spark to light as Mats Hummels charged forward on the counter attack but was denied by Alphonse Areola, who was outstanding in between the sticks for Les Bleus. Despite this, the hosts were better in the second half but failed to find the net despite a basket of chances from the likes of Marco Reus and Timo Werner.
Germany's 3 men behind their 9 should be Reus, Sane, Brandt— Karim Benzema fan account (@JayTheMaestro) 6 September 2018
Why does Sane not start???— Omar Ülloa (@OmarUlloa9) 6 September 2018
Low needs to start making changes. It’s the 61st minute and the German offense still aren’t doing anything special, or being creative. Put in Sane or Brandt. #UEFANationsLeague— Mike Matias (@Mike__Dhcf) 6 September 2018
Starting XI: Neuer (7); Ginter (6), Boateng (6), Hummels (8), Rudiger (5); Kimmich (7),
Kroos (8); Muller (7), Goretzka (6), Werner (6); Reus (7).
Substitutes: Gundogan (6), Sane (7).
STAR MAN - Toni Kroos
If ever there was an occasion for the Real Madrid man to respond to his critics, this was the game to do it. Despite a tough test against the likes of Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante, the German veteran impressed with his composure in the middle of the park and his passing, as well as his ability to control the tempo.
After stating that his side's defeat against South Korea was a 'black day' for the German national team, the 28-year-old did his talking on the pitch as his dominance and fight shone through with his pinpoint passing. He let the stats do the talking.
WORST PLAYER - Antonio Rudiger
The worst of the best. The Chelsea defender, arguably, shouldn't have even been on the pitch after what appeared to be a stamp on France's Benjamin Pavard early in the first half.
There was no stand out poor player for Die Mannschaft as they looked to impose a new system, but what Joachim Low was thinking putting him out on the left to deliver crosses is a mystery.
Rudiger needs to be fined for that cross. What’s that— Danks (@ElJefeDanks) 6 September 2018
If #Germany cannot play good crosses through Ginter and Rudiger, the ball should go wide and then be played to #Kroos or #Kimmich who position them in the half spaces to cross from deep for Gundogan and Müller making late runs into the box. Harder for #France to defend #GERFRA— Rupesh Popat (@rpopat1) 6 September 2018
Key Talking Point
The red carpet was rolled out for the reigning champions as they walked out at the Allianz Arena in Munich.
Their crown as World Cup winners glistened, and in certain phases of the game Les Bleus made the hosts look very average. Their strength and power from back to front was difficult to deal with from a German perspective as France looked to pick up where they left off in the World Cup final.
Despite appearing to be on the back foot during the second half, the World Cup winners battled hard for a well earned draw after struggling to carve out enough chances to claim the win.
Alphonse Areola - who came in for the injured Hugo Lloris - had a stunning debut for France in goal as he made several top class saves to keep the score level, when they could have easily conceded.
Starting XI: Areola (8); Pavard (7), Varane (7), Umtiti (6), Hernandez (7); Mbappe (7),
Pogba (5), Kante (8), Matuidi (6); Griezmann (6); Giroud (7).
Substitutes: Dembele (6), Fekir (6), Tolisso (N/A).
STAR MAN - N'Golo Kante
Another example to young and aspiring players across Europe and the world as to how a midfielder should behave. Kante was the engine for his side throughout and effortlessly won possession back for his team when the going got tough as well as being equipped with the vision to get attacks going.
The 27-year-old did not appear to come out of third gear as he made Germany's attacking players look foolish as he effortlessly dominated them, especially in the first half.
He played like someone who had drank 10 cans of Red Bull before playing, but this is no surprise to avid Premier League viewers.
Kante’s type of energy is just a beast mode type of energy, ko Can din Red Bull 10 sai haka— BABA ALKALI (@Alkalibaba_) 6 September 2018
Kante has been unbelievable once again tonight, what a player!!— Ryan Ennis (@ryan_toon) 6 September 2018
WORST PLAYER - Antoine Griezmann
The Atletico Madrid talisman was brought off with ten minutes to play after appearing to be frustrated with a lack of service from the likes of Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi.
Giroud was also affected which was a surprise considering their devastating attacking prowess that was on show in Russia.
His heart did not seem in it on Thursday night after lifting the World Cup trophy in the summer, and will have to take the L on this occasion.
Griezmann really must wake up now. He seems to lack motivation after winning the World Cup. #justinmyopinion— It's Me (@itsme77777) 6 September 2018
France will face the Netherlands on Sunday in Paris for their second game of the UEFA Nations League, and they know they will have to play a lot better in that one.
Meanwhile, Germany will take a step back from competitive football as they host Peru in a friendly at the Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena in Hoffenheim.