It’s a warm and humid afternoon in Washington DC, and both teams make their way out into the RFK Memorial Stadium for what is the Nationalmannschaft’s final game of what has been a fantastic season for German football. The game sees former German coach Jürgen Klinsmann – now hoping to take the US team to the World Cup finals in Brazil in 2014 – meet up with some of his former charges, among them former assistant Joachim Löw.
The home side – celebrating their centenary year with this friendly encounter – are in white shirts and dark blue shorts and the Germans are in their Lindengrün jersey. Löw’s side has yet to win in this new Trikot, having suffered defeats against both France and Switzerland in 2012.
Of the German starting eleven, the only starter from their last World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan is Per Mertesacker, while Lars and Sven Bender start together for the first time, making theim the first twins to start for the Nationalmannschaft since Schalke 04 pair Erwin and Helmut Kremers lined up against Hungary in April 1974.
Meanwhile there are two Germans playing for the US team in the shape of Schalke 04’s Jermaine Jones – who played for the German team under Jürgen Klinsmann – and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim’s Fabian Johnson.
Germany have won all four matches they have played in 2013 so far, while the Americans are coming in off a poor spell of results, including a 4-2 home defeat by Belgium. The younger players in the German side once more have the opportunity to prove themselves, while at the other end of the scale striker Miroslav Klose has another chance to overtake Gerd Müller as the Mannschaft’s leading goalscorer.
1 min. Mexican referee Paul Henrique Delgadillo Haro gets things under way.
2 mins. The US have the first half chance as Jozy Altidore’s effort is turned behind for a corner by Mertesacker.
3 mins. The US win their second corner, but the German defence clears easily.
6 mins. Julian Draxler has a shot from distance that is blocked.
7 mins. Altidore gets his head to an inswinging free-kick from out on the right, but sends the ball well wide of the target.
11 mins. A massive chance for Germany as Mertesacker appears to foul Damarcus Beasley before scuffing a shot narrowly wide of the upright. The perfect opportunity, but the wrong man at the end of it.
13 mins. Altidore meets a perfectly-time right-wing cross from Graham Zusi to put the US in front with a sweetly-struck volley. The German defence were completely outflanked, Mertesacker was standing like a statue in the centre of the penalty area, and Marc-André ter Stegen in the German goal has no chance. 0-1.
15 mins. The German defence is sliced open again, and Johnson sends a shot wide of the target.
16 mins. It’s an absolute disaster for the Mannschaft as a backpass from Benedikt Höwedes rolls past ter Stegen who only succeeds in touching the ball into the back of the net. A bizarre turn of events, and out of nothing the US are now two goals up. 0-2.
19 mins. André Schürrle makes a beautiful run down the right and skips past a number of white shirts, but just as all the hard work is done sends his shot wide of the target.
20 mins. The confident Altidore makes another strong run towards the German penalty area, and sets up Clint Dempsey whose shot is on target but well parried by ter Stegen.
23 mins. Altidore is everywhere at the moment, and he now tries to take advantage of ter Stegen’s nerves with an audacious effort from the halfway line, but sends the ball over the crossbar.
24 mins. Klose looks to have pulled a goal back and taken himself level with Gerd Müller as Germany’s leading all-time goalscorer, but is correctly called back from running back from an offside position.
26 mins. The US team are looking increasingly confident, and and making their best efforts to boss this game.
28 mins. Draxler tries to play a smart ball forward to find Lukas Podolski, but Brad Evans reads it well and clears. If Germany are to turn things around and win this match they need to get back into it soon.
31 mins. There’s a little panic in the US box as Draxler’s shot is punched away by ‘keeper Tim Howard with Klose lurking.
36 mins. The game seems to have settled after the frenetic and somewhat bizarre start, but there will be plenty to talk about in the German dressing room during the break. The overall performance has been ordinary, and the defence has been a complete shambles.
39 mins. Draxler shows some good skill in the opposition box, but Podolski can only spoon his shot high over the bar.
45 mins. The hard-working Marcell Jansen and Schürrle combine nicely down the left, winning a corner that results in nothing. The half-time whistle is blown, and the teams head off to the dressing room.
It has been a truly disappointing performance for Joachim Löw’s side, and even though this is effectively a C-Elf the defensive blunders continue to be a concern. Goalkeeper ter Stegen in particular has done little to enhance his reputation: in just under three games for the Mannschaft, he has now conceded a total of ten goals, making him one of the leakiest German Torhüters in recent memory.
If they are to turn things around, some smart changes need to be made by the coach.
46 mins. There are four changes for the Mannschaft, as Max Kruse, Heiko Westermann, Dennis Aogo and Philipp Wollscheid come in for the Bender twins, Jansen and Mertesacker.
47 mins. Germany win a corner out on the right, and from the resulting kick Höwedes sends a difficult chance over the bar.
50 mins. There’s some pressure now from the men in green, and substitute Kruse makes a good run down the left and wins a corner.
51 mins. The corner is swung into the box, and Westermann is on hand to beat Omar Gonzales and bury the header. 1-2.
53 mins. Beasley floats inside Höwedes and gets a weak shot in on goal, and ter Stegen collects.
55 mins. Jogi Löw’s side appear to have slipped into another gear and are looking far more fluid going forward, but as a result a few spaces are being left at the back. Aogo sends in a cross from the left, but the chance is too hard for Klose who sends a looping header high and wide of the target.
57 mins. There’s a little bit of panic in the US defence now, and Germany are looking for the equaliser. Kruse sends in a high cross from the left, but Howard is on hand top pick the bal out of the air with Klose closing in.
58 mins. Aogo wins a corner out on the left, but Draxler’s Eckball is easily cleared by the white-shirted Americans who take advantage of a mistake by Kruse to win a corner at the other end.
60 mins. Against the run of play, the Americans extend their lead. It’s that man Altidore again, who picks up a great ball out on the left before sending in a cross towards Dempsey, who evades the static Aogo and Stefan Reinartz before slamming the ball past ter Stegen. 1-3.
64 mins. The static Germans are allowing the US to boss the play in and around the own penalty area, and Dempsey is allowed the time and space to fire in a delicious left-footed effort that flies into the top left side of the net past ter Stegen. The unfortunate Mönchengladbach ‘keeper has now conceded a dozen goals in his two and a bit internationals. 1-4.
65 mins. Sidney Sam is on for Schürrle as Löw makes his fifth change.
68 mins. Draxler – probably the only half-decent performer in what has been a truly atrocious display by the Germans – forces Howard into a desperate parry, but Klose is flagged offside as he goes in for the rebound.
74 mins. The greens shirts are standing off again, and Dempsey has another long-distance pop at goal which flies high over the bar and into the crowd.
75 mins. Kruse wins a corner out on the left, and Draxler’s inswinger is put over for a goal kick.
77 mins. Kruse sends a nice-looking curling shot that flies just wide of the left side of the American goal.
79 mins. A nice interchange between Podolski and Kruse, and Borussia Mönchengladbach’s new signing lashes a well-struck right-footed shot past Howard. A great finish to cap off what has been a decent performance since his arrival. 2-4. There will be no record-equalling chance for Klose, who is replaced by Nicolai Müller.
81 mins. This game takes another strange turn as Sam beats Edgar Castillo down the right, before sending in a left-footed effort that takes a slight deflection. Howard can only parry the ball into the path of Draxler, who scores his first goal in the Nationaltrikot. 3-4.
82 mins. It’s Sam causing chaos down the right again, and Höwedes has a half chance that ends up in the grateful arms of Howard.
86 mins. It’s pinball stuff in the American box as the ball doesn’t quite fall to the trickly teenager Draxler.
87 mins. Sam outwits Castillo down the right flank yet again, and tries to do an Arjen Robben by switching inside and sending the ball into the crowd.
88 mins. The US win a corner out on the left, and Jermaine Jones’ header is well tipped over by ter Stegen.
90 mins. More green shirts inside the American box, and Müller goes down before the ball ends up with Howard. Müller went down easily, and despite the shouts from the German players the Mexican referee correctly waves play on.
90+2 mins. There’s one last chance now for the Germans to salvage a draw, but Westermann’s long ball into the American penalty area is collected by Howard.
90+3 mins. The final whistle blows, and Jürgen Klinsmann has out-trumped his former assistant in a bizarrely interesting seven-goal thriller.
It’s Germany’s third defeat against the US, and their first loss of 2013. The new green Trikot continues to be unlucky, ans this is the third straight defeat in the change colouts with a goals tally of seven four and twelve against.
Despite this being what can best be described as a C-Elf, the result is still an embarrassing one given the four goals conceded and the completely shambolic performance by the defence. There are a number of players here who have failed to impress, and it is hard to see some of them in a Germany shirt again.
Amidst all of the negatives however there were a few positives: Julian Draxler continued to show why he is so highly rated, and both Max Kruse and Sidney Sam made a difference when they arrived on the pitch. Kruse scored a great goal to open his international account, and Sam looked distinctly dangerous down the right, in contrast to his Chelsea-bound Bayer 04 Leverkusen colleague André Schürrle, who looked sluggish and ineffective.
v United States, JFK Memorial Stadium, Washington DC, 02.06.2013
Westermann 52., Kruse 79., Draxler 81. / Altidore 13., Höwedes og 16., Dempsey 60., 64.
Germany: ter Stegen – L. Bender (46. Westermann), Mertesacker (46. Wollscheid), Höwedes, Jansen (46. Aogo) – S. Bender (46. Kruse), Reinartz – Schürrle (65. Sam), Draxler, Podolski – Klose (c) (79. N. Müller)
United States: Howard – Evans, Gonzalez, Besler, Beasley (56. Castillo) – Zusi (56. E. Johnson), J. Jones, Bradley, F. Johnson (46. Davis) – Altidore (80. Boyd), Dempsey (c)
Referee: Paul Henrique Delgadillo Haro (Mexico)
Assistants: Alejandro Ayala, Héctor Manuel Haro (Mexico)
Fourth Official: Baldomero Toledo (United States)
Yellow Cards: – / –
Red Cards: – / –
Attempts on Target: 8 / 7
Attempts off Target: 8 / 6
Corners: 8 / 8
Fouls Committed: 7 / 8