Germany have beaten Ecuador in the first of two games in an international friendly tour of the United States, winning 4-2. The national team got onto the score sheet earlier than usual, after just nine seconds.
Coach Joachim Löw could not have hoped for a better start from his so-called B squad in the absence of their busier stars from Champions League winners Bayern Munich and runners-up Borussia Dortmund.
Real Madrid midfielders Sami Khedira and Mesut Özil, as well as Italian cup finalist Miroslav Klose, were also unavailable for the match in front of just 5,000 fans in Boca Raton, Florida.
The alternative side didn't leave it long before taking the opportunity to show what they could do.
No sooner had the whistle been blown, Lukas Podolski - out to prove the doubters wrong - was robbing defender Gabriel Achilier as the Ecuadorians passed ineptly back into their own ranks. The former Cologne man lashed home the opener for Germany just nine seconds in.
Lars Bender was next on the score sheet thanks to an assist from national debutante and Bayer Leverkusen team mate Sidney Sam. Sam slid the ball forward from right midfield for Bender to control, coolly poking home Germany's second from 16 meters out.
Holes at the back
Germany by now seemed to have run Ecuador dizzy, the South Americans looking ragged at the back and offering plenty of opportunities for Max Kruse and Julian Draxler to expose them and create the goal scoring chances.
Things came unstuck for Ecuador again on 17 minutes, Marcell Jansen and Kruse combining to produce a cut-back that Podolski rifled home for his second.
Ecuador were also ineffective in attack. Occasional flashes of flair fell flat for the most part and were not going to faze Germany, especially by the time they went 4-0 up with a second from Bender.
Podolski played a diagonal ball back to Roman Neustädter, who fed it across for Bender to hammer home. While Ecuador keeper Maximo Banguera got a hand to the ball, he was unable to stop it going in.
Ecuador‘s first real moment of danger came after 29 minutes, when Christian Benitez rattled the crossbar from close range. Moments later Germany were in danger again, Felipe Caicedo zeroing in on goal only to be successfully crowded out by Heiko Westermann.
The fightback pays off
It wasn't until the 44th minute though, that Ecuador sub Elvis Bone, taking on Jansen, hit a chunky cross into the danger zone. An impressive Jefferson Montero couldn't control the ball, but Manchester United's Antonio Valencia was on hand to hit a sweet volley through the German back line.
Ecuador continued their comeback after the break with Germany still lucky to be three goals ahead into the last 10 minutes of a largely charmless second half. A spat saw bookings for sub Stefan Reinartz, Westermann and Podolksi, as well as Ecuador's Elvis Bone.
The fact that Germany avoided conceding for so long was mostly thanks to Hamburg keeper Rene Adler, who pulled off fine saves against Valencia and Montero.
However, a free kick from a dangerous position on 84 minutes saw Ecuador double their tally, Walter Ayovi's curling effort that squeezed its way through the wall. As on-fire as Adler was, even he couldn't stop it - Ecuador's blushes saved somewhat with a relatively respectable score line by the time the final whistle was blown.
"It was a very, very good first half for us," said Löw after the match. "In the end we weren’t able to hold the pace.” The Germany coach said the match would help him add depth to the squad. "I knew the team needs more than 15 or 20 players. These games are great for youngsters to gain experience."
Germany play the United States in the second match of the national side's friendly tour on Sunday.