Spain snatched a last-gasp 1-1 draw with Germany in their Nations League opener, thanks to Jose Gaya’s 95th-minute finish after Timo Werner had fired the hosts ahead in Stuttgart.
The engrossing Group A4 encounter had a thrilling conclusion, with Manchester City new boy Ferran Torres crossing for Rodrigo to tee up Gaya after the four minutes of added time had elapsed, infuriating Germany’s players who were also calling for an offside flag which never came.
Joachim Low’s side looked certain to take three points after Werner had shown Chelsea fans just what they can expect from their new signing in the Premier League this season with a powerful low drive on 51 minutes.
But Spain – who had under pressure Manchester United ‘keeper David de Gea to thank for a string of smart saves – battled to a point, which leaves the two sides level in their pool, behind Ukraine, who beat Switzerland 2-1 in the other Group A4 fixture on Thursday evening.
How Spain grabbed a point in Germany
Spain had come into the match on an 11-game unbeaten run but De Gea had to be alert in the first half as Thilo Kehrer, Julian Draxler and Leroy Sane, with a brilliant curling shot, forced him into action.
Both teams were missing the magic touch in the final third, though, as Ferran Torres shot over, Sane scuffed a pass to Werner in the box, Jesus Navas saw an effort blocked behind for a corner, and then Rodrigo blew a gift when Draxler lost possession by shooting straight at Kevin Trapp at the end of a goalless first half.
However, Werner made the breakthrough shortly after the restart, following up his first strike for Chelsea on Saturday with another assured finish, and could have doubled Germany’s advantage when he shot into the side-netting, moments after Rodrigo had clipped the roof of the net at the other end.
There was hope from Spain that the half-time introduction of Barcelona prodigy Ansu Fati – the youngest player to represent Spain since 1936 – would make the difference, and the 17-year-old nearly had the dream debut when he headed past Trapp in injury-time but the referee had already blown for a foul by Sergio Ramos.
Ironically, the delay from Ramos’ challenge on Matthias Ginter allowed Spain time for one final attack and they made it count, with Valencia left-back Gaya deservedly sharing the points between two sides who will have ambitions of reaching the finals next year.
Premier League stars assessed: Werner, Ferran Torres, De Gea impress
There were a number of Premier League players on show in Stuttgart, and two new signings gave us a glimpse of the quality they will bring to England’s top flight this coming season.
Werner took just four minutes to score on his first Chelsea appearance at Brighton on Saturday and while he had to wait a little longer against Spain, his shift and low finish was another example of the ability he has. Chelsea fans – who would also have been buoyed by Antonio Rudiger’s good display – will be getting excited about what Werner could do this season.
Manchester City followers will also be optimistic that their side have landed a talented youngster of their own in Ferran Torres. The 20-year-old, making his Spain debut, looked lively throughout but was also there right at the end when it mattered to clip a lovely cross into the box for Leeds signing Rodrigo – who had been wasteful up to that point – to head towards Gaya for the equaliser. Ilkay Gundogan, meanwhile, was as slick as ever.
David de Gea had a wretched run of form at the end of last season with Manchester United and with Dean Henderson at Old Trafford for this coming campaign his status as United No1 is under threat. He showed no sign of it here, denying Germany on several occasions throughout the contest.
Both sides return to action on Sunday, with Germany travelling to Switzerland, while Spain host Ukraine.