Thu, May 15, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Young Germany hold Poland

CONTINUED DOMINANCE:With 13 debutant players and an average age of 21.45, Germany extended their undefeated streak against Poland to 18 with the draw

AFP, HAMBURG, Germany

Germany player Kevin Volland, left, and Poland player Grzegorz Krychowiak vie for the ball during their game in Hamburg, Germany, on Tuesday.

Photo: Reuters

Germany began their World Cup finals preparations with their youngest-ever side holding Poland to a goalless draw on Tuesday, with the Hamburg crowd jeering the result after the final whistle.

With 13 of his squad involved in Saturday’s German Cup final, when Bayern Munich are to play Borussia Dortmund, Germany coach Joachim Loew named eight debutants in his starting eleven, which had a combined total of just 13 caps.

“That was fun, we had a crazy amount of debutants in the team, but they did their jobs very well,” Loew said as a toal of 12 players ultimately made their debuts after substitutions. “We were well organized and played well going forward. Even without the goals it was a fun game.”

It was the youngest side ever named — with an average aged of 21.45 — in the 106-year history of German Football Association (DFB) internationals, beating the previous record of 21.5 for a 1908 international against Switzerland.

Several youngsters did enough to impress the coach in the first of three pre-World Cup friendlies, with matches against Cameroon and Armenia to come.

However, it remains to be seen who stays in as the squad was to be cut to 25 or 26 players yesterday before later being reduced to the definitive 23 who Loew will take to the World Cup.

Of the starting side against Poland, only captain Julian Draxler has a realistic chance of lining up to face Portugal in Germany’s Group G opener in Salvador on June 16.

“When you are named German captain at the age of 20, that says a few things,” Draxler said. “It was almost an under-21 side out there today. When you’ve only had a training session, it’s tough to take all the things on board, so we’ve done well.”

Schalke 04’s promising trio of left-wing Draxler, attacking midfielder Max Meyer, 18, and right-wing Leon Goretzka, 19, had their first run out for the senior national side having all risen through the junior ranks, with playmaker Meyer comfortable on the ball without dazzling.

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim’s 21-year-old striker Kevin Volland had a few half chances up front as he played the first half, while at the other end Poland’s defensive midfielder Mateusz Klich forced Germany goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler into a save with half an hour gone.

With his side not going to Brazil, Poland coach Adam Nawalka left out his Dortmund stars in striker Robert Lewandowski and right-back Lukasz Piszczek.

Southampton’s veteran goalkeeper Artur Boruc captained the side, with Werder Bremen striker Ludovic Obraniak playing up front.

The opening half was a low-key affair with Germany in control despite their inexperience, while Poland were always dangerous on the counterattack, but all too often their efforts petered out.

Stuttgart’s Antonio Ruediger’s 32nd-minute header was Germany’s best chance of the opening half.

Augsburg’s Andre Hahn, who came on for the second half, squandered a great chance to grab the winner six minutes from time, when his bicycle-kick failed to beat Boruc.

Despite the whistles of discontent from the 37,000-strong crowd at the final whistle, at least Germany protected their record of never having lost to their neighbors in 18 meetings.

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