Friendly: Germany 0 – 1 Norway

German Football
By German Football February 11, 2009 21:18

Friendly: Germany 0 – 1 Norway

A well-organised Norway took advantage of some diabolical defending to beat Germany 1-0 in Dusseldorf tonight.

Christian Grindheim’s goal in the 63rd minute earned Egil Olsen’s side a deserved victory against a lacklustre Germany, who followed up their defeat to England in Berlin late last year with a second straight loss on home soil.

The victory will have boosted Olsen’s hopes of keeping the Norway job on a permanent basis.

Germany coach Joachim Low left the major experimentation for the second half, picking the experienced Michael Ballack and Torsten Frings in the centre of his midfield with first-choice strikers Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose also starting.

And they both combined for the first chance of the game in the 11th minute with Gomez going close to opening the scoring.

In fact, the Stuttgart striker, who was on target twice for his club in the Bundesliga last weekend, probably should have done better when he was found unmarked at the far post by Klose, but he volleyed the ball back across the face of goal.

Norway packed 11 men behind the ball and waited for their chances on the break.
With the Germany defence failing to convince for the whole 90 minutes, every time the red shirts did surge forward, a goalscoring opportunity seemed certain.

Like in the 13th minute when Thorstein Helstad raced past Per Mertesacker, who only just managed to recover in time to block the Norway striker’s shot.

The guests should have been given a penalty in the 21st minute when Heiko Westermann failed to use his brakes as he charged into Daniel Braaten just inside the penalty area.

Germany were let off the hook once again 60 seconds later when Rene Adler made a remarkable one-handed save to deny Helstad as the German defence was again all at sea.

There were still a few chances for the home team in the first half with Piotr Trochowski and Philipp Lahm both going close from similar positions after cutting into the left-hand side of the penalty area.

Gomez was the hosts’ most dangerous player and he went closer than any other player in a white shirt to scoring in the 58th minute with Norway goalkeeper Rune Almenning Jarstein making a fine save on the stretch to deny him.

Five minutes later, Norway went ahead with the German defensive frailties laid bare.
Helstad missed the chance to divert Morten Gamst Pedersen’s low cross into the back of the net, but it did not matter as the ball still found its way through to Grindheim, who had an easy finish at the far post.

Low awarded Mesut Ozil his first cap with 12 minutes to go, securing the Werder Bremen midfielder indefinitely as a Germany international, but that remained the only positive on a disappointing night in the Dusseldorf Arena.

The 45,000 fans who had braved the freezing, snowy conditions in reaching the stadium found little comfort inside the heated, fully-covered arena and they made their disapproval clear, whistling for much of the second half.

And Germany left the field to a chorus of boos as they made a disappointing start to the year 2009.

German Football
By German Football February 11, 2009 21:18
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