Germany went down early to Bosnia, but fought back in the second half to earn an emphatic 3-1 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina in the team's last friendly before the World Cup.
Germany outperformed Bosnia-Herzegovina in the second half
Germany will head to South Africa on Monday feeling like winners after they came back from a goal down to beat Bosnia-Herzegovina on Thursday night in Frankfurt. A goal from captain Philipp Lahm and two from the spot from Bastian Schweinsteiger decided the match. But it was second-half substitutes who changed the game's complexion.
After a less-than-dominant first-half display, Coach Joachim Loew shuffled the deck at the half, bringing in striker Cacau and winger Thomas Mueller, who were direct replacements for Miroslav Klose and Trochowski. Both had had lackluster evenings.
Loew singled out the second-half performance for praise after the match.
"The fact that we could bump it up a notch in the second half after three weeks of preparation was first class. We had a lot of chances, and I think the victory was earned," Loew said.
Edin Dzeko had opened the scoring for the guests in the 15th minute, when Miralem Pjanic lofted a tricky pass into the Wolfsburg striker's stride in the area. Dzeko nodded it down, and Lahm's clearance attempt went no further than Dzeko's chest. The ball sprang over German keeper Manuel Neuer and into the goal.
Lahm opened the scoring for Germany in the second half
"The goal we gave up was a very unlucky one," said Lahm, who added he was happy that the team had created so many chances. "But we do need to work a little harder on the defensive end."
Indeed, Germany struggled with the Bosnian counter, and found themselves stretched on a number of occasions by the probing passes of Dzeko's club teammate Zvejdan Misimovic.
But Germany had their chances as well, going close twice. Lukas Podolski hit the cross-bar with a long-distance blast, and Mesut Oezil was one-on-one with the keeper on a counter - but misplayed his hand, and didn't get a shot off.
New hope in a new half
Bosnia held its advantage to the half-time whistle, and Loew used the break to bring in his reinforcements. But it was Lahm who cracked the Bosnian defense six minutes into the second half, when he was quicker to a loose ball on the right wing, and went on a determined run that ended with an unstoppable right-footed shot from the edge of the area.
Loew's substitutes would eventually make their mark, however. In the 72nd minute Marko Marin, who'd just taken the place of Podolski, earned a penalty when he was fouled breaking into the left side of the area. Bastian Schweinsteiger converted from the spot with aplomb into the left corner.
Cacau was used as a second-half substitute
Five minutes later, it happened again - only this time it was Mueller getting fouled. (Schweinsteiger stuck with the same corner.)
Coach Joachim Loew had sprung a couple of surprises in his starting line-up, sending new captain Philipp Lahm out as right back, and finding places on his team sheet for Hamburg right wing sparkplug Piotr Trochowski and young Bayern left back Holger Badstuber.
Badstuber played very well, mopping up the attacks that came his way with tidy tackling, but Trochowski probably played himself out of contention to start. The right wing is now Mueller's to lose.
Cacau also made a strong case for a starting role in South Africa, most likely at Klose's expense. He didn't score, but was lively, assured in his touch and accurate in his passing.
Germany's World Cup campaign begins on June 13 against Australia.
Author: Matt Hermann
Editor: Darren Mara