Late Podolski strike saves Germany

German Football
By German Football October 15, 2009 03:59

Late Podolski strike saves Germany

South Africa-bound Germany needed a 90th-minute goal from Lukas Podolski to salvage a 1-1 draw as Finland came close to a win in their final World Cup qualifier. Germany had booked their berth at South Africa 2010 with a 1-0 victory over Russia on Saturday.

Löw had opted to rest Bastian Schweinsteiger, Miroslav Klose and Per Mertesacker from the side which started in Moscow, but Löw still had captain Michael Ballack and Philipp Lahm here.

Finland, who were only playing for pride with World Cup qualification beyond them, opened the scoring when Jonatan Johannsson struck in the 11th minute. Hoffenheim’s Andreas Beck failed to stop Roni Porokara putting in a cross from the flanks, then Roman Eremenko beat Lahm to the header before Johannsson was the quickest to the ball and drilled his shot home from close range.

Johannsson had also scored in the 3-3 draw against Germany in Helsinki last September when Germany dropped their only other points of the campaign. It looked for most of the game like the hosts would finish with their first defeat in qualification games until Podolski was presented with a simple tap in.

Finland had other chances in the first-half as both Eremenko’s shot was saved by Rene Adler and veteran Jani Litmanen’s goal was ruled off-side. Löw made a series of changes afer the break by introducing Werder Bremen midfielder Mesut Özil and Bayern München striker Miroslav Klose.

The pair combined with Özil looping a cross over the Finland goal which Klose, the top-scorer at the last World Cup, scrambled back across the face of goal for Podolski to fire home with full-time almost up.

Pictures from the game.

[DFB.de]

German Football
By German Football October 15, 2009 03:59
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