Germany played their first post-2010 World Cup match in Copenhagen against Denmark last night. And Germany were held to a two-all draw. But this team had little to do with the German team in the World Cup which had thrilled fans around the world with their display.
Like other coaches around the world Joachim Loew decided not to call-up many of his World Cup players, only eight of the 23 World Cuppers were in the squad and only defender Jerome Boateng was part of the first eleven in Copenhagen who had also been a regular first eleven player during the World Cup. This meant that midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger, who had been omitted from the World Cup squad, was given the captains armband in the absence of Ballack, Lahm and Schweinsteiger. And he led a German team which will never ever again play in this formation.
The recent experiences of friendlies hasn't been the best for Germany. The team often just does not play to their true potential, but last night in Copenhagen it was different. Though it is only days ahead of the new season and a newly put together team, the boys needed some time to gel together and then stated playing football against a Denmark which didn't utilise their chances early. Germany took the lead in the 19th minute through Mario Gomez from a brilliant Hitzlsperger through pass. And things looked better as the match went on, but still the defence committed unwanted mistakes which gave chances to Denmark, but the Danes weren't able to utilise their chances.
In the 73rd minute substitute Patrick Helmes doubled Germany's lead and everyone thought Germany had sealed their victory, but only a minute later Dennis Rommedahl, in his 100th international, reduced the deficit with a beautifully placed shot from a mistake by Serdar Tacsi. Thereafter an open match developed in the last quarter with chances on both sides, but Denmark did get the equaliser in the 87th minute through substitute Mads Junker who only had to push the ball into an empty net as goalie Tim Wiese tried to block the ball on the 16 metre line without touching it with his hands, but it failed.
Germany did play an overall good game and could have won the match convincingly, but inexperience and mistakes in defence didn't help their cause; still coach Loew will have gained some useful insights about some players who haven't played recently for the national team. And some like captain Hitzlsperger and Christian Gentner did impress with their game, and can look forward to a next call-up.