Germany vs Israel – No Losers From Leipzig


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Israel goalkeeper ARIEL HARUSH (1) of FC Beitar Jerusalem comes off his line to smother the ball at the feet of on-rushing Germany midfielder MESUT OEZIL (8) of 2012 Spanish La Liga champion Real Madrid as visiting defender EITAN TIBI (21) of surprise Ligat ha ‘Al 2012 titlist FC Ironi Kiryat Shmona surveys the situation during the internationl friendly match at the sold-out Red Bull Arena in the city of Leipzig.
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Positive results all around from the international fixture that history insures will never be quite like any other, then. As if to spite the steady rain coming down at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig, the bucket loads of goodwill and pride on prominent display all throughout the stadium saw it, together, that there could no losers from this GERMANY v ISRAEL friendly exhibition match. And so, even though the Germans did score two goals whereas the Israelis actually managed none, there can be no mistake that, at the end of the ninety minutes, there were only winners after this particular meeting on the football pitch.

The Israelis were prepared to concede enormous amounts of both possession and territory to the their hosts but the Germans would still need forty minutes to find any meaningful form. This, in large part, as a result of the visitors’ ability to maintain their defensive shape as well as discipline. Germany defender JEROME BOATENG of beaten UEFA Champions League Finalist Bayern Munich had almost given the home team’s supporters something to cheer about less than twenty minutes in but had no luck with a delightful, left-footed shot that smacked flush off the upright.

Germany finally got on the scoreboard when legionnaire midfielder SAMI KHEDIRA of Spanish La Liga champion Real Madrid, moments after heading wide at point blank range, did well to shield his marker and play a return ball forward to winger THOMAS MUELLER of Bayern Munich in the box. A deft first touch from the Golden Boot winner at the last FIFA World Cup in South Africa allowed his Bundesliga teammate, “Super” MARIO GOMEZ, to hammer a shot – with the benefit of a slight deflection by Israel defender TAL BEN HAIM of English Football League Championship (second division) club FC Portsmouth – into the upper right corner of the net.

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The Israelis got their two best attempts of the match on target to start the second half but Germany World Cup goalkeeper MANUEL NEUER was equal to the task. Neuer swallowed up a curling drive from Russian-based midfielder BIBRAS NATCHO of FC Rubin Kazan and also needed to be sharp to steer a stinging drive from Israel substitute midfielder GIL VERMOUTH, most recently of Dutch club De Graafschap Doetinchem, over the crossbar. From there on out, though, it was all pretty much one-way traffic as both sides began to bring numerous players off the benches in earnest.

Two-time Germany World Cup winger LUKAS PODOLSKI, whom recently relegated Bundesliga club 1.FC Koeln have already offloaded to English Premier League club FC Arsenal of London, had a pair of excellent chances but skied one shot over the crossbar and blasted another straight at Israel goalkeeper ARIEL HARUSH of FC Beitar Jerusalem. And the playmaking midfield magician MESUT OEZIL, another La Liga winner this season with Real Madrid in Spain, also could not find the target from a good position. Mueller, meanwhile, had a wonderful opportunity to double Germany’s lead after settling a pinpoint pass from Oezil in the box but rolled his shot agonizingly just wide with only a little under a quarter of an hour to go.

Substitute ANDRE SCHUERRLE of Bayer Leverkusen, the 21-year-old winger who registered seven goals in 31 Bundesliga games this term after scoring 15 goals in 33 matches for FSV 05 Mainz the season before, continued his fine form at the international level and eventually added a second goal for Germany with a brilliant strike from beyond the half moon at the top of the penalty box in the 82nd minute; Schuerrle has now shot an impressive seven goals on his first 14 appearances for the national side since making his debut for Deutschland opposite Sweden in November of 2010.

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The triumph for Germany in Leipzig was an important result for trainer JOACHIM LOEW’s side, who counted the national team’s first victory in four tries since beating Belgium last fall to finish with a perfect 10 wins from 10 qualification matches. Morale must certainly benefit even if the Germans were made to labor a bit by the stubborn Israelis. Important matches, of course, loom on the immediate horizon in Poland and the Ukraine.

Israel has a few different reasons to feel good about the recent results against the Germans and the Czech Republic, both of whom will be featuring in the final tournament of the 2012 UEFA European Championships fast approaching. Several young players gained valuable international experience that should serve trainer ELI GUTTMAN’s Israeli side well in the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign. The new goalkeeper Harush, for example, is one who certainly did not disgrace himself while on tour in Europe.

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Germany striker MIROSLAV KLOSE (11) of Italian Serie A side SS Lazio Rome, the three-time FIFA World Cup veteran who is five goals shy of tying the vaunted national record held by the legendary GERD “der Bomber” MUELLER of 68 goals, arrives at the back post and beats Israel defender EITAN TIBI (21) of FC Ironyi Kiryat Shmona in the air but…
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Israel goalkeeper ARIEL HARUSH of FC Beitar Jerusalem reacts well and is able to turn the ball over the crossbar in the waning stages of the international friendly with the Germans in front of a sellout crowd of 43,241 at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig.

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