Sat, Jun 05, 2010 - Page 18 News List

Germany rally to win final warm-up

FIRING BLANKSOnce again veteran Miroslav Klose was unimpressive up front for Germany and is in danger of losing his spot in the starting lineup

AFP , FRANKFURT, GERMANY

A Germany supporter poses for the camera before his team’s World Cup warm-up match with Bosnia-Herzegovina in Frankfurt, Germany, on Thursday.

PHOTO: AFP

New captain Philipp Lahm hit the equalizer and his deputy Bastian Schweinsteiger scored two penalties as Germany came from behind to beat Bosnia-Herzegovina 3-1 on Thursday in a World Cup warm-up match.

It was Germany’s final game before South Africa and the Germans responded to Edin Dzeko’s early goal with an impressive performance, but the captain said there was still room for improvement.

“I am unhappy we didn’t keep a clean sheet,” Lahm said. “We struggled to create goals in the first half, but luckily we worked things out. I look forward to the World Cup, we are in a good mood, have trained well and are fit.”

Germany have endured a difficult few weeks which have seen them lose captain Michael Ballack, midfielder Christian Traesch and defender Heiko Westermann all through injuries.

With Ballack out of the World Cup, Lahm will wear the captain’s armband in South Africa when Germany open their campaign against Australia in Group D on Sunday next weekend.

Coach Joachim Loew again opted to start with Miroslav Klose as a lone striker, with Lukas Podokski and Mesut Oezil providing attacking options from midfield.

Bosnia — who just missed out on the finals after losing to Portugal in a play-off — were dangerous in the first half, but ill discipline cost them dearly in the second half.

“We played well in the first half, but after the break we didn’t cope very well with a young German team,” Bosnia coach Safet Susic said.

For Germany, both Podolski and Oezil looked threatening and crashed their shots against the Bosnian crossbar various times, but veteran Klose was again unimpressive up front and is in danger of losing his place in the starting lineup.

With Germany flying to South Africa tomorrow, Lahm led the side in Frankfurt, but it was not the type of start he would have wanted.

He was at fault when Bosnia took the lead after he tried to clear the ball from a Dzeko attack, but could only watch in horror as the ball hit the VfL Wolfsburg striker on the chest and looped over Manuel Neuer in the German goal.

Having fallen behind to the 15th-minute goal, Germany laid siege to the visitors goal, with Oezil going close with a couple of clear chances, while Podolski rattled the crossbar with a fierce shot.

The hosts finally had their patience rewarded when Lahm went on a weaving run at the Bosnian goal and buried his shot past goalkeeper Kenan Hasagic on 51 minutes.

Both Cacau and Oezil went close with efforts in the final 30 minutes as Germany piled the pressure on the guests’ goal.

With 20 minutes left, Werder Bremen’s Marko Marin came off the bench against the country of his birthplace and was straight into the attack, winning a penalty just two minutes after his introduction.

He was brought down by Sanel Jahic and Schweinsteiger netted the penalty on 72 minutes.

“Schweini” stepped up again to net the second penalty when second-half substitute Thomas Mueller was brought down in the penalty area on 76 minutes by Bosnia captain Emir Spahic.

He was lucky to escape a red card as he clattered Marin in the last six minutes and then struck the diminutive winger on the side of the head, but the referee branded only a yellow card.

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