Aussie comeback astounds Germany
Germany looked on course to replicate their 4-0 win in Durban last summer when Mario Gomez scored a 26th-minute opener in a dominant first half for the world's No3 ranked side. But the Socceroos stunned their hosts with two goals in four second-half minutes, first through David Carney and then a Luke Wilkshire penalty, to claim their first ever win over the Europeans.
It was also another feather in the cap of Australia's new German coach Holger Osieck, who guided his side to the final of the AFC Asian Cup in his first tournament in charge in January. Germany coach Joachim Low did make a host of changes to the side that beat Kazakhstan 4-0 in their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier at the weekend.
Andre Schurrle and Sven Bender were handed their full international debuts, while Low completely changed his back five, with Tim Wiese trusted in goal. Australia were, however, without their star man Tim Cahill, meaning Brett Holman partnered Harry Kewell up front.
The visitors responded with some typically tough tackling, with Mile Jedinak's late challenge on Schurrle earning him a caution and the ire of Low on the touchline. Australia were not all muscle though and Holman met a long-range Lucas Neill pass with a first-time volley which flashed wide. Germany remained unflustered and patiently built attack after attack before a delightful goal in the 26th minute.
Thomas Muller's step-over allowed the ball to travel through to Schurrle and he held off two defenders before finding Gomez, who weighted his shot perfectly to beat a diving Mark Schwarzer into the top corner. Lukas Podolski flashed a couple of free-kicks wide as Germany sought a second, while Australia's best chance before the break saw Jedinak head a corner straight at Wiese.
After the break Podolski headed into the side-netting before Low was off his bench again after Wilkshire brought down Marcel Schmelzer with an ugly diving challenge which could have been punished with a red card.
Wilkshire compounded Low's anger by scoring, but it was only poor defending to blame for allowing the visitors to equalise on 61 minutes. Blackpool full-back Carney ran onto his own pass, after Matt McKay allowed it to run on, and slipped his shot under the exposed Wiese.
The Socceroos then grabbed an unlikely lead four minutes later when Kewell went down under the merest of pressure from Christian Trasch and Wilkshire fired in the resulting penalty. Germany tried to respond with Schurrle denied by Schwarzer before Miroslav Klose bundled an effort wide after getting behind the defence. Klose was then booked for a dive in the area with a minute remaining as Australia held on for a historic win.
Germany coach Joachim Low was punished for naming a weakened side with the most embarrassing defeat of his four-and-a-half year tenure in charge. "That is a little unfortunate," admitted Low. "In the first half, I thought the young players actually did quite well. But in the second half we threw the game away."
For Australia's Osieck, who took charge last August, this was his country's biggest win in recent years. "It would have been presumptuous before the game to believe that we could win," said Osieck, who was Germany's assistant coach when they won the 1990 FIFA World Cup title in Italy.
"In addition, I know the German team very well and know their quality. We just wanted to put in a good account of ourselves. We had a few weak points in the first half and lost the ball too quickly. But we just got better and better in the second half."