Battling Hungary hold Germany to latest Nations League draw
Germany had to settle for their third Nations League 1-1 draw in a row after battling Hungary held their illustrious visitors in a Group A3 tie in Budapest on Saturday.
League A debutants Hungary stunned the Germans after just six minutes with a blistering strike by Zsolt Nagy before Jonas Hofmann levelled three minutes later with a fine solo effort.
The result extended the unbeaten run of Hansi Flick’s side to 12 matches but leaves them frustrated and still without a win three games into the campaign.
“I’m not going to start coming up with alibis, we wanted to get three points today,” Flick told reporters afterwards.
“Of course, we are disappointed, but you have to say that Hungary is an unpleasant team to play against,” Germany captain Manuel Neuer told broadcaster RTL.
Marco Rossi’s side also drew with Germany last June in the Euro 2020 group stages, and from the outset attacked with intent.
Puskas Arena soon erupted with ear-splitting noise when wing-back Nagy blasted home from close range after Manuel Neuer had palmed out a Roland Sallai header.
But the home crowd’s delight was shortlived as Hofmann pounced on a through ball by David Raum minutes later, rounded Peter Gulacsi and finished into an empty net for the equaliser.
Slick Germany posed the greater danger with Chelsea’s Kai Havertz steering a header from Raum wide before the impressive 1899 Hoffenheim winger sailed a curler round Gulacsi’s right post.
Hungary had pulled off a shock 1-0 home win over England a week ago and spurred on by their raucous fans they bustled with endeavour, with a drive from busy winger Attila Fiola forcing a reflex save from Neuer before the break.
With no let-up in tempo in the second half Germany upped the pressure and Hofmann should have scored his second with a quarter hour to go.
The pacy Borussia Moenchengladbach winger found himself clear on goal but underhit his side-pass to Timo Werner allowing Willi Orban to clear.
“I take the blame for not putting us 2-1 up. I’m very disappointed, because of that one missed chance,” Hofmann told RTL.
The Magyars squandered their own gilt-edged chance soon after when substitute Martin Adam, well-placed in the area, headed a Dominik Szoboszlai cross straight at Neuer.
Another home sub Daniel Gazdag then warmed Neuer’s gloves with a rasping effort from the edge of the box ten minutes from the end.
Germany will play their final match of the June international break at home against Italy on Tuesday before the group campaign concludes in September.
“We have to see that we learn the lessons from this game,” said Flick, with an eye on the World Cup in Qatar in five months’ time.
“We have always said that we are developing. We are in a process aimed towards the World Cup. Against Italy, we want to really get things going again,” said Neuer.
Also on Tuesday Hungary, who remain in second place in Group A3 behind leaders Italy with four points, visit last-placed England in Wolverhampton.