Monday 20 November 2017

Germany given rude awakening by Swiss

Jamie Holland

Switzerland stunned European Championship contenders Germany 5-3 in an enthralling friendly on Saturday, with Eren Derdiyok bagging a hat-trick against a makeshift German defence.

The visitors, missing more than half their usual starting line-up, with eight Bayern Munich players set to join the squad later today, looked a long way from being ready to challenge for their first major championship trophy since 1996.

Poor defensive organisation, a lack of their usual offensive spark and a sloppy passing game caused Germany to slump to their biggest defeat by Switzerland since their first clash in 1908 ended in the same result.

"We made far too many mistakes," said Germany coach Joachim Loew, who will announce his final squad for Euro 2012 this week.

"I did not expect this result, though I knew it could be dangerous because of the many training sessions we have had until now.

"I knew that we could be lacking this freshness.

Concerns

"The team had not played with such a line-up before. Now we have two weeks to work on this and I have absolutely no concerns that the coordination within the team will start working."

The Germans, who are in a difficult Group B along with Portugal, the Netherlands and Denmark, fell behind after 21 minutes, with new Hoffenheim signing Derdiyok taking full advantage of a gaping hole in the opposing defence to slot in a cross by Tranquillo Barnetta.

He struck again two minutes later, heading in another pinpoint Barnetta cross as central defenders Mats Hummels and Per Mertesacker, making his comeback from an injury that kept him out since February, struggled to gel in the German rearguard.

Portugal, meanwhile, faced a barrage of whistles from their fans after an insipid 0-0 home draw against Macedonia left question marks over their form ahead of the Euros.

Macedonia, No 98 in the world rankings and coached by former Liverpool striker John Toshack, were well organised but reliant on counter-attacks against their more illustrious opponents.

Irish Independent

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