Germany’s new head coach Julian Nagelsmann enjoyed his debut as the four-time world champion recovered from a goal down to beat the United States 3-1 away in a friendly on Saturday.
The Euro 2024 host was in freefall last month as it suffered a shock 4-1 loss at home to Japan but was sharp in attack as goals from Ilkay Gundogan, Niclas Fullkrug, and Jamal Musiala secured the win in East Hartford, Connecticut.
U.S. captain Christian Pulisic thrilled the home crowd when he opened the scoring, but the Americans could not hold onto their lead and midfielder Gundogan levelled before halftime, while Fullkrug and Musiala struck after the break.
“We had a great start to the game, I think the energy levels were high,” said U.S. midfielder Weston McKennie. “I’m sure they went inside (at halftime) and saw how they could hurt us.”
Pulisic carved through the German defence and powered a superb shot into the top right corner to put the U.S. in front after 27 minutes, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
But Germany shut the party down 12 minutes later when U.S. keeper Matt Turner dived to intercept the ball from winger Leroy Sane but failed to hold onto it and could only watch helplessly, flat on the ground, as Gundogan tapped home the equaliser.
Turner thwarted an attempt by Fuellkrug in the 49th minute, but the striker then powered a shot into the bottom right corner to give Germany the advantage just before the hour.
Three minutes later, attacking midfielder Musiala fired another shot into the net after a neat flick from Fullkrug.
The U.S. was eager to prove it could compete against the world’s best as it prepares to co-host the 2026 World Cup, but McKennie acknowledged that the team’s level dropped after halftime.
“We kind of got a little bit disorganised,” he said. “We couldn’t really get close, and we were just defending in our box the whole time.”
It was the first start midfielder Gio Reyna, 20, was handed under Gregg Berhalter since last year’s World Cup after a bitter public dispute between the coach and the promising youngster.
The U.S. next plays Ghana in a friendly in Nashville, Tennessee on Tuesday when Germany faces Mexico in Philadelphia.