Belarus comeback bemuses Germany
Germany 2-2 Belarus
Joachim Löw's side let a two-goal lead slip in their penultimate friendly before UEFA EURO 2008™ in Kaiserslautern.
Two early German goals had suggested a resounding win was on the cards but poor defending allowed the visitors to earn a draw. Miroslav Klose and an own goal had put the home side in command inside 20 minutes but in the final third of the match there was an unexpected twist when Vitali Bulyga scored twice to give Löw some food for thought.
Germany were without a number of defenders including Heiko Westermann, who had joined his wife for the birth of their child, so Thomas Hitzlsperger was used as a makeshift left-back. Two holding midfielders were deployed in Michael Ballack and Torsten Frings, while Löw used the same attacking duo in Klose and Lukas Podolski that shone during the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
And it was that pair that combined for the first German goal after ten minutes when Podolski burst inside from the right wing and his through ball found Klose in the area who made no mistake after rounding Vasili Khomutovski. However, the German defence were not looking solid and Maksim Romaschenko fired over from close range in response. With twenty minutes played, David Odonkor surged down the right wing and crossed beyond all his team-mates but Vladimir Korytko could only find his own net as he attempted to clear.
Belarus were a different proposition after the interval and they registered a deserved goal on 61 minutes when Bulyga beat Jens Lehmann from 16 metres after a fine pass by Aleksandr Kulchiy. Germany tried to up the ante again thereafter but failed to convince and the underdogs, under the influence of their German coach Bernd Stange, celebrated Bulyga's second goal after an unchallenged solo effort with two minutes remaining.
Germany: Lehmann, Lahm, Mertesacker, Metzelder, Hitzlsperger, Frings (Trochowski 67), Ballack (Jones 46), Odonkor (Fritz 79), Schweinsteiger (Marin 46), Klose (Helmes 54), Podolski (Neuville 54).
Belarus: Khomutovski, Omelyanchuk, Lentsevich, Filipenko, Korytko, Kulchiy, A. Hleb, Romaschenko (Sitko 46), Putilo (Pavlov 73), V. Hleb (Rodionov 54), Bulyga.