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Barcelona’s Ilkay Gündogan decisive again as Germany beat Hungary in second Euro 2024 group stage game

Barcelona’s Ilkay Gündogan played a crucial part in Germany’s second win in Group A to mathematically guarantee a spot in the Euro 2024 Round of 16 thanks to a 2-0 victory over Hungary in Stuttgart on Wednesday. The Germans were once again dominant, even if not as free-scoring as they were in the opener against Scotland, but a goal and an assist by Gündogan were enough to decide the contest and give the hosts all three points to secure qualification with a game to spare.

Germany did not look quite as scintillating and dominant as they did against Scotland, thanks in large part to a Hungary side who were nowhere nearly as passive as the Scots. The visitors were more aggressive with their pressing and offered much more of a threat on the counter, and Manuel Neuer and the German defense were tested multiple times throughout the period.

But the Mannschaft still dominated the ball and created chances, and they found a way to get ahead thanks to Ilkay Gündogan as the Barcelona man made another of his great runs into the box and never gave up on the play until he won the ball off Willi Orbán and assisted Jamal Musiala, who showed his quick feet and found the back of the net for the second time in two games to put the hosts in front.

Hungary still didn’t give up and nearly equalized when Roland Szalai headed it home just before halftime, but the goal was ruled for a marginal offside in the buildup. The halftime whistle came shortly after to end an entertaining first period in Stuttgart, with all still to play for in the second half and Hungary in desperate need of a comeback to keep their Round of 16 hopes alive.

The visitors came out with that exact desperate attitude, sending more bodies forward and putting Germany under real pressure at times as they created a couple of big chances on crosses and set pieces. The Germans couldn’t control the ball as well, and looked a little too stretched in the first 20 minutes of the period.

But in the 67th minute a brilliant piece of collective work led to a crucial second goal: a fantastic passing sequence down the left wing ended with a gorgeous low cross by Maximilian Mittelstädt and a calm, composed left-footed finish by Gündogan to double the German lead and pretty much secure the victory.

Gündogan’s evening ended in the 84th minute when he was replaced by Deniz Undav, and Germany simply looked to cruise to the finish and keep a clean sheet. The task was accomplished, and the final whistle came to give Germany six points out of six and book a spot in the knockout stages.

Germany’s confidence, precision and quality was on show again, and it’s pretty clear just how key to their hopes Gündogan will be. The Germans look good at home, with a Barça man right at the heart of it.

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