Created on 01-03-2012 at 00:00 AM
Exactly 100 days prior to Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine, joint favourites Germany fell to an unexpected home defeat in Wednesday's friendly against France. In the absence of half a dozen regulars, including FCB captain Philipp Lahm and midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, Germany lost 2–1 in front of a 37,800 crowd at the Weser Stadium in Bremen.
Olivier Giroud and Florent Malouda scored midway through either half to extend France's unbeaten run to 18 matches. Home substitute Cacau pulled one back in stoppage time, but Les Bleus prevailed as the Germans were left contemplating a spell of fully 25 years since last beating their southern neighbours.
Three Bayern stars in starting line-up
Of the six FCB men in the Germany squad, Holger Badstuber, Jerome Boateng and Toni Kroos started the match, with Thomas Müller and Mario Gomez on the bench. Müller came on just before half-time in place of the injured Andre Schürrle, with Gomez taking over for the second half from former Bayern man Miroslav Klose, who passed the captain's armband to the current Munich centre forward. Manuel Neuer was rested for the night, as local hero Tim Wiese stood between the sticks.
For the visitors, Franck Ribéry started the match as expected. After a cautious opening spell, Giroud finished off an excellent passing move to open the scoring with 21 minutes on the clock. Both before and after the goal, the Germans were in the ascendant and had a number of chances, but Sami Khedira, Klose, Badstuber and Mezut Özil all missed the target.
Badstuber and Ribéry, who took a minor knock in a first half challenge, failed to reappear for the second half as Germany urgently pressed for an equaliser. The skilled French team proved more ruthless in front of goal, with Giroud coming close to doubling the advantage on the hour, before substitute Malouda wrapped it up after 69 minutes. Cacau’s strike in the first minute of stoppage time could not save the home side from defeat.
“You can't read too much into the match, although we have to ask ourselves why we were so careless. We didn't work hard enough in defence, and that was a bit undisciplined," Müller fumed after Germany's first defeat since a reversal by the same score against Australia in March 2011. By contrast, Ribéry will be declared the winner of the internal Bayern contest, with the French now boasting a proud record of quarter of a century since their last defeat to Germany.