Nico Schulz strikes on debut to grab Germany win over Peru
Nico Schulz enjoyed a dream international debut on Sunday, as the Hoffenheim defender scored a late winner in front of his home crowd to give Germany a hard-fought 2-1 friendly win over Peru in Sinsheim.
Given his first cap for Germany in the stadium where he plays his club football, the 25-year-old Schulz put in a solid performance at left-back as the hosts came from behind to pick up their first win since crashing out of the World Cup in June.
"I am very happy for Nico, he put in a very engaged performance today," coach Joachim Loew told RTL.
"He made a very good impression on me in training." Germany had prioritised defensive stability in their 0-0 draw with France three days earlier, but they were out to score goals in Sinsheim, and forced several chances in the opening 20 minutes.
Marco Reus twice came close, while Matthias Ginter's header forced a smart save from Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.
"We had more chances and were more ambitious going forward today than we were against France," Reus said.
"With a bit more luck and bit more concentration I would have converted one of those chances." Yet it was Peru who struck first, brutally exposing Loew's side on the counter-attack in the 22nd minute. In a moment reminiscent of Germany's World Cup woes, Luis Advincula burst down the right wing and beat Marc Andre ter Stegen at the near post.
The lead lasted all of three minutes, as Julian Brandt levelled the scores with a delicate chip over Gallese. Timo Werner appeared to fire Germany in front ten minutes later, but was correctly called back for offside.
Both Werner and Ilkay Gundogan forced further saves from Gallese before half-time, while tested ter Stegen at the other end.
Peru looked the more dangerous side in the second half, and ter Stegen was called into action again before the hour mark, scrambling across goal to keep out Pedro Aquino's header.
Both sides continued to look vulnerable at the back, as chances fell to both Werner and Jefferson Farfan on the counter-attack.
Nils Petersen could have won it for Germany 15 minutes from time, skewing a volley wide of the post, and Julian Draxler sent the ball flying over the bar several minutes later.
"I haven't watched the goal back yet, but it was lucky," Schulz told RTL. "I don't think it would have gone in in any other stadium."