06.02.2008: Austria 0-3 Germany – German recovery

German Football
By German Football February 8, 2008 03:42

06.02.2008: Austria 0-3 Germany – German recovery

Germany put a dire first half behind them to run out 3-0 winners over wasteful Austria in their Euro 2008 dress rehearsal at the Ernst Happel Stadium on Wednesday.

The European Championship co-hosts had Germany on the ropes for the first 45 minutes of an entertaining friendly but Thomas Hitzlsperger blasted the ball in from the edge of the box after 53 minutes to set Germany on their way.

Miroslav Klose swooped for his 37th international goal soon afterwards and substitute Mario Gomez headed home the third 10 minutes from time.

Austria coach Josef Hickersberger will at least take heart from a good first half display, when Roland Linz had a goalbound shot cleared and Martin Harnik headed against the bar.

Michael Ballack, back for his first international since March 2007, went close when he headed over the bar in the first half and the Germany captain grew more influential as the game went on.

‘We had a pretty bumpy start but we took advantage of our chances and they didn’t,’ Ballack told German TV.

Austria and Germany will reconvene in Vienna on June 16 when they play their final match in Group B at Euro 2008.

Conventional wisdom has it that Austria, who won just one of 12 friendlies in regulation time in 2007, will be down and out by then, and that will doubtless prove to be the case unless they learn to be more ruthless.

They came close to an opening goal in the 22nd minute when Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann misjudged a run out of the box to clear and stood helpless as Harnik ran past him.

Harnik went down under a challenge from Manuel Friedrich but Linz took over and fired in a goalbound shot that Per Mertesacker lunged to clear.

From the second of two resulting corners Harnik smacked the bar with a header and Austria soon threatened again, with Linz putting the ball wide when a goal seemed inevitable after he beat the German defence to a Christian Fuchs cross.

Germany looked rattled right up until Hitzlsperger took one touch to bring down a loose ball and drilled in the opening goal from 20 metres.

Klose was left unmarked to turn in a Ballack cross 10 minutes later and Gomez helped himself to the third when he outjumped the defence to meet Lukas Podolski’s cross.

German Football
By German Football February 8, 2008 03:42
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