27.05.2008: Germany 2-2 Belarus — Die Nationalelf squanders lead

German Football
By German Football May 27, 2008 20:19

27.05.2008: Germany 2-2 Belarus — Die Nationalelf squanders lead

Germany squandered a two-goal lead to draw against Belarus in their penultimate Euro 2008 warm-up friendly on Tuesday evening. The result leaves coach Joachim Low with much to think about as he still has to make his final squad selection of 23 players, out of the 26 he has currently chosen, for Austria and Switzerland by midday on Wednesday.

Miroslav Klose, a player guaranteed to make the final cut, put Germany ahead in the 10th minute while an own goal from Vladimir Korytko doubled their advantage 10 minutes later. Vitali Bulyga got one back after an hour and managed to grab an equaliser for battling Belarus two minutes from the end.

Low gave David Odonkor his first start since October in a midfield that also included captain Michael Ballack, who had just joined up with the team on Monday. Bayern Munich pair Klose and Lukas Podolski formed the attack with Mario Gomez left back at training camp in Mallorca due to a calf problem, while Real Madrid’s Christoph Metzelder gained match practice at centre-back and Thomas Hitzlsperger slotted in at left-back.

And it did not take long for Low’s new-look team to settle as Klose opened the scoring early on. Klose looked marginally offside when he received the ball from Podolski but kept his cool to round Belarus goalkeeper Vasili Khomutovski and tap home.

There was no doubt over the legitimacy of Germany’s second goal as Korytko fired through his own net from Odonkor’s teasing cross. Germany continued to dominate possession with Ballack pulling the strings at the heart of the midfield and almost setting up Klose for a third after 30 minutes.

Low gave Borussia Monchengladbach winger Marko Marin his debut at the start of the second half while Jermaine Jones was also given 45 minutes to prove himself, replacing Ballack at the restart. Jones came close to scoring his first international goal five minutes after entering the fray but his shot from the edge of the area was deflected just wide of the post.

Belarus narrowed the gap after an hour when Bulyga’s shot from just inside the penalty area found the back of net despite the best efforts of Jens Lehmann.

Marin showed off some of his skills to dribble past three Belarus defenders and earn Germany a free-kick which Piotr Trochowski curled just side of the post as the home side looked to hit back immediately.

But it was Belarus who had the final laugh through the lively Bulyga, who showed up Metzelder’s lack of fitness by outstripping the Madrid man on the edge of the area and firing a low shot beyond Lehmann which the goalkeeper will feel he might have kept out.

Germany will complete their warm-up programme on Saturday (31st May) against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen. They open their UEFA EURO 2008™ Group B bid against Poland in Klagenfurt on 8 June before facing Croatia there four days later. They then visit Vienna to take on co-hosts Austria on 16 June in their final group match.

German Football
By German Football May 27, 2008 20:19
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