Ilkay Gundogan receives mixed reception as Germany share goalless draw with World Cup winners France
It was not a performance to capture the imagination but no one said redemption for their worst World Cup showing for 80 years would be achieved overnight.
Germany’s first game since their embarrassing group stage exit in Russia 71 days ago ended in a goalless draw against world champions France on a night when their supporters seemed keen to consign that particular ignominy to the past, even if they were not in the mood to entirely forgive and forget.
Ilkay Gundogan’s introduction midway through the second half triggered a decidedly mixed reaction from the German crowd at a packed Allianz Arena and, if anything, will have done little to convince Mesut Ozil that he has made a mistake quitting the international set up.
The cheers for Gundogan may have outnumbered the jeers and his name was chanted lustily by some when encouraged by the PA but the applause could not drown out the audible whistles and it is clear there are elements of the German fanbase who are going to need more time to get over the Manchester City midfielder being photographed with Ozil alongside President Erdogan of Turkey on the eve of the World Cup.
Like Gundogan, Ozil is of Turkish descent and the Arsenal playmaker had cited racism behind the scapegoating that prompted him to turn his back on the national team. For the mostpart, though, this was a night when Germany seemed to want to move on.