"We played very well tonight even though not everything went our way," said Julian Brandt after the game. "Every win does us good. I really feel at home in the national team and I try to contribute with my strengths. I'm happy I was able to help out with my goal."
It was a successful weekend, not just for Brandt, but also for his team-mate Kai Havertz. The Werkself midfielder made his full international debut for Germany against Peru on Sunday night. Ahead of the game, he received the gold Fritz Walter medal as the best German U19 player in 2017/18 from the Germany captain Manuel Neuer.
While Havertz and Werkself team-mate Jonathan Tah began on the bench, Brandt was on from the start in the second international following the World Cup - Germany drew 0-0 with World Cup winners France in the UEFA Nations League on Thursday. It was the 20th cap for Brandt, who played in the number ten shirt previously worn by Mesut Özil .
Germany had the better chances in the opening stages of the game in front of a 25,500 crowd in Sinsheim. Marco Reus (2', 20') and Matthias Ginter with a header (12') missed the first clear-cut chances. Peru proved to be more effective with Luis Advincula scoring on the break to make it 1-0 on 22 minutes. Germany hit back four minutes later when Brandt levelled at 1-1 with a close-range lob with Toni Kroos providing the assist on 26 minutes. It was the second international goal for the Werkself pro. Germany retained the upper hand with Brandt very busy on the right flank. The impressive Peru keeper Pedro Gallese kept out the next promising efforts from Timo Werner (35') and Ilkay Gündogan (37').
Peru posed the greater threat on goal after the restart but were unable to convert any of their chances. The next great opportunity for Germany came at the end of a counter-attack. Werner put his shot over the bar (56') after a smart pass from Brandt. Jefferson Farfan then missed a clear opportunity to put Peru back in the lead. The match ended for the dominant and hard-working Brandt on 70 minutes. He was replaced by Nils Petersen. The winner was scored by the Hoffenheim player Nico Schulz on his home turf with a shot from 17 yards out (84').
Kai Havertz replaced Timo Werner with 88 minutes on the clock. After 30 appearances for various Germany youth teams, the 19-year-old earned his first full international cap for Germany.
Germany coach Joachim Löw was full of praise for Havertz ahead of the friendly against Peru: "Kai really impressed me in training. He has incredible vision and technique. He passes calmly even in the tightest of spaces. He has a presence on the pitch at his young age and I really like that. He is one of the most talented players we have." In the few minutes he played on Sunday night, Havertz was able to make his mark. The match ended in a 2-1 victory for Germany.
Ahead of the game against Peru, Havertz received the gold Fritz Walter medal as the best German U19 player in 2017/18 from the Germany captain Manuel Neuer. Havertz was unable to take part in the official event in Heidelberg as he was with the Germany squad. This was his second award from the DFB: In 2016 he won silver at the U17 level. "The Fritz Walter medal is a special honour. I'm very happy about it," said Havertz in an interview with dfb.de after the award. "At the same time, I don't see the medal as an individual award: My family, my coaches, my team-mates and my first club in Aachen all played a big part in my development. None of this would have been possible without their support. And I hope I can continue to make my way in the game with their support."
The DFB has presented the Fritz Walter medal in gold, silver and bronze since 2005 in recognition of performances in the U17, U18 (up to 2014) and U19 age groups. His team-mates Julian Brandt and Jonathan Tah have also received this award in the past. Brandt won the Fritz Walter gold medal in 2014 (U18) and Tah also picked up the gold in 2015 at the U19 level.
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