New-look Germany wobble in Slovak loss

BERLIN • An inexperienced Germany team suffered a self-confidence-sapping 3-1 defeat by Slovakia in Sunday's storm-affected friendly, as the world football champions fielded four new caps ahead of Euro 2016.

Slovakia, who will make their European Championship debut in Group B alongside Wales, England and Russia next month, deserved their win in Augsburg as Germany coach Joachim Loew blooded a youthful quartet.

A heavy storm in Bavaria at half-time meant the break was extended to 39 minutes and it was Slovakia who profited from the soggy second-half conditions by adding their third goal.

Loew was more relieved that none of his players picked up injuries rather than bothered by the result.

"I have never experienced such a long half-time break. The pitch wasn't dangerous and, thank God, nothing happened (injury wise)," he said.

Germany took an early lead when Mario Gomez converted a penalty but goals from Marek Hamsik and Michal Duris just before half-time put Slovakia 2-1 up at the break.

A calamitous error by Germany's replacement goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen then handed Slovakia's Juraj Kucka the only goal of the second half.

Loew gave out two new caps in each half to goalkeeper Bernd Leno, 24, and defender Joshua Kimmich, 21, then 20-year-old midfielders Julian Weigl and Julian Brandt.

Elsewhere, Celta Vigo forward Nolito strengthened his case for inclusion in Spain coach Vicente del Bosque's final squad, with his first two international goals in a 3-1 friendly win over Bosnia and Herzegovina in Saint Gallen, Switzerland.

Del Bosque named an experimental side with no players from Champions League finalists Real Madrid and Atletico or those sides involved in domestic Cup finals last weekend, including Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

Nolito has been included in the provisional 25-man squad after leading Celta into the Europa League with 12 goals this season.

And it would be a huge surprise if the former Barcelona man is now cut from the squad, as he curled expertly into the far corner before delightfully chipping Bosnia's Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic to make it 2-0 after just 18 minutes.

Hamburg defender Emir Spahic halved Bosnia's deficit when he headed home from a corner just before the half-hour mark.

But Chelsea forward Pedro Rodriguez added the third for Spain deep into stoppage time.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2016, with the headline 'New-look Germany wobble in Slovak loss'. Print Edition | Subscribe