BERLIN • The king is dead, long live the king. That was the consensus on social media as Germany's new No. 10 Julian Brandt, on his first appearance in the coveted shirt, showed that the 2014 world champions are over the recently retired Mesut Ozil.
The Arsenal midfielder quit Die Mannschaft under a storm of controversy following Germany's humiliating World Cup group-stage exit, accusing the country's Football Association of "racism".
But Brandt, 22, has the skills to be a worthy successor and he repaid coach Joachim Low's faith in him to equalise in Germany's 2-1 friendly win over Peru on Sunday, after being handed the iconic number last week.
And the Bayer Leverkusen winger declared in his post-match interview that he was growing into his new shirt and relished the added responsibility of being Germany's creative fulcrum.
"Beyond the World Cup, I've gained a lot of self-confidence, I feel very comfortable in the national team," said Brandt, who featured for only 19 minutes at the World Cup.
"I try to use every minute and bring in my strengths, and I'm happy about my goal."
Nico Schulz also enjoyed a dream international debut on Sunday, as the Hoffenheim defender scored a late winner in Sinsheim after Peru drew first blood through Luis Advincula.
The 25-year-old Schulz put in a solid performance at left-back as the hosts came from behind to pick up their first win since crashing out of the World Cup in June.
"I am very happy for Nico, he put in a very engaged performance today," Low told German TV station RTL.
"He made a very good impression on me in training."
Germany had prioritised defensive stability in their 0-0 draw with France last Thursday, but they were on the front foot against their South American opponents, keeping Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese busy.
"We had more chances and were more ambitious going forward today than we were against France," forward Marco Reus said.
"With a bit more luck and concentration, I would have converted one of those chances."