11.10.2006: Germany 4 – 1 Slovakia; Impressive Germans outclass Slovakia

German Football
By German Football October 12, 2006 02:21

11.10.2006: Germany 4 – 1 Slovakia; Impressive Germans outclass Slovakia

Lukas Podolski grabbed a brace as Germany continued their perfect start to the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign with a resounding 4-1 win over Slovakia in Bratislava on Wednesday.

Slovakia had beaten Wales 5-1 in their previous qualifier 4 days ago but the Germans steamrolled them by scoring twice in the first 25 minutes, silencing the home crowd as they strolled to an easy victory. Germany, thus, have the maximum nine points and lie second in the group behind the Czech Republic, who were held to a 1-1 draw by the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday, having played one game less.

The visitors attacked at will throughout the match on their way to making it three wins out of three in the campaign. 21-year-old Podolski opened the scoring on 13 minutes. Miroslav Klose set up the goal after sprinting down the right side past three Slovak players before playing the ball back to his unmarked strike partner. Klose was one of four regulars rested by coach Löw against Georgia last Saturday and their freshness showed in an energetic opening.

Germany captain Michael Ballack doubled the lead on 25 minutes, meeting Philipp Lahm’s left-wing cross into the penalty box with a diving header. Bastian Schweinsteiger added a third to stretch the lead even further in the 36th minute when Slovak goalkeeper Kamil Contofalsky could not hold Ballack’s shot. Schweinsteiger drove home the rebound cementing a game that was never in doubt for the visitors.

“A lot of experts said it would be difficult to keep this good run up after the World Cup. We’ve proven in the last five matches we were able to do just that. We played a super match and deserved to win 4-1,” said Podolski after the game. “I’ve said all along it doesn’t interest me at all what happens off the pitch. What’s important is what happens on the pitch. The rest doesn’t mean a thing.”

Slovakia, who had also thrashed Cyprus 6-1, looked devoid of ideas and midfielder Marek Mintal, top-scorer of the Bundesliga in 2005 playing for 1. FC Nürnberg, was starved of service. The hosts did not have any meaningful opening until the start of the second half when Robert Vittek fired over the crossbar from an acute angle.

However, defender Stanislav Varga pulled one back for Slovakia on 58 minutes with a header to spoil keeper Jens Lehmann’s shutout. It was the first goal Germany had conceded under new manager Joachim Löw.

Podolski continued his good run when he struck again in the 71st minute to seal the win, rolling the ball into an open goal as Klose once again provided, after the duo sprung the offside trap.

“We had a very good first half. We controlled the match and were able to make our mark. It was a joy to watch the way the energy was flowing. We proved that we can stand up to a strong opponent away as well,” remarked Germany coach Joachim Löw. “It was difficult to keep up that high level in the second half. We were a bit careless but what was good was the way we reacted after they scored their goal. We bounced right back and got a fourth.”

Löw, who took over from Klinsmann after the World Cup, has won his first five matches in charge and hopes to make it six in the next qualifier against Cyprus on November 15.

German Football
By German Football October 12, 2006 02:21
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