Slovakia stun green Germany in storm-hit friendly


Berlin (AFP) – An inexperienced Germany team suffered a self-confidence sapping 3-1 defeat to Slovakia in Sunday’s storm-affected friendly ahead of Euro 2016 as the world champions looked out of sorts. 

Slovakia, who will make their European championships debut in Group B alongside Wales, England and Russia next month, deserved their win in Augsburg as Germany coach Joachim Loew fielded four uncapped players.

A heavy storm in Bavaria at half-time meant the break was extended to 35 minutes and it was Slovakia who profitted from the soggy second-half conditions by adding their third goal.

Germany took an early lead when Mario Gomez converted a penalty, while goals from Marek Hamsik and Michal Duris just before half-time put Slovakia 2-1 up at the break.

A calamitous error by Germany’s replacement goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen then gifted Slovakia’s Juraj Kucka the only goal of the second half.

Centre-back Jerome Boateng, who was at the centre of an off-field political storm after a right-wing politician said most Germans would not want to have him as a neighbour, was the only member of the Germany team who had started the World Cup final two years ago.

Banners reading “Jerome, move in next to us” showed the feelings of most Germany fans.

Loew gave out new caps, two in each half, to goalkeeper Bernd Leno and Bayern Munich defender Joshua Kimmich, then midfielders Julian Weigl and Julian Brandt.

Schalke’s Leroy Sane made only his second appearance in the attacking midfield role behind Gomez.

The hosts took the lead when Mario Goetze was fouled in the area and Gomez banged home the 13th-minute penalty.

Napoli defensive midfielder Hamsik made Slovakia’s first clear chance count by drilling home the equaliser on 40 minutes and his long-range shot gave Leno no chance on his debut.

The goal fired up the visitors who then took the lead a minute before the break when striker Duris slipped his marker and floated his header past Leno.

The skies opened during the half-time break as torrential rain pelted the pitch and the black clouds mirrored Loew’s dark scowls as he trudged off. 

The match resumed with pools of water on the surface and Slovakia profited from the deluge.

Kucka’s speculative shot looked set to be gathered by Ter Stegen, on for Leno, only for the ball to roll between his legs on 52 minutes.

It was virtually identical to the own-goal the Barcelona shot-stopper leaked against the USA in Germany’s 4-3 friendly defeat in Washington in June 2013.

Loew must now cut four names before submitting his 23-man squad for Euro 2018 before midnight on Tuesday while Slovakia coach Jan Kozak is set to name his on Monday.

Germany have one more warm-up match, against Hungary in Gelsenkirchen on Saturday, the same day Slovakia host Northern Ireland in Trnava.

Germany play their first Euro 2016 match in Group C against Ukraine on June 12 in Lille, the day after Slovakia open their campaign against Wales in Bordeaux.

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