Argentina midfielder LIONEL MESSI (10) of Spanish La Liga giant FC Barcelona advances the ball towards the net with Germany midfielder LARS BENDER (16) of Bayer Leverkusen, who scored a late winner for Deutschland after starting at left back against Denmark in the final tournament of the 2012 UEFA European Championships earlier this summer, running just a step behind during the international friendly in front of a sold-out crowd of 48,808 spectators at the historic Waldstadion in the Hessian city of Frankfurt.
An early injury to a starting defender, a straight red card for the goalkeeper with barely half an hour played and a strange own goal during time added on to the opening forty-five minutes ensured there would be no real football contest on this day as visiting ARGENTINA ran away from host GERMANY 3-1 in an international friendly match.
Still, who is to say what might have been had the long-range shot from winger MARCO REUS of Bundesliga champion Borussia Dortmund not hit the right post for ten-man Germany in the 50th minute. Of course, it was only two minutes later that FC Barcelona star LIONEL MESSI, who had his penalty well saved by substitute goalkeeper MARC-ANDRE TER STEGEN of Borussia Moenchengladbach in the first half, doubled Argentina’s lead, then, before Real Madrid legionnaire ANGEL DI MARIA tacked on a third with a little over a quarter hour to play. Schalke 04 Gelsenkirchen defender BENEDIKT HOEWEDES salvaged a measure of pride for the Germans with a sharply-headed strike after outstanding approach-work in the box from Reus and teenage substitute MARIO GOETZE of Borussia Dortmund.
Four prominent national team regulars from traditonal German powerhouse Bayern Munich — goalkeeper MANUEL NEUER, defender PHILIPP LAHM, midfielder BASTIAN SCHWEINSTEIGER and striker MARIO GOMEZ — were not in trainer JOACHIM LOEW’s squad for the Argentina exhibition with all but Lahm (whose wife was giving birth to a son) being not fit at present.
Germany winger MARCO REUS of Borussia Dortmund, the 23-year-old who had scored an impressive 29 goals in the Bundesliga the past two seasons for Borussia Moenchengladbach before transferring to the two-time defending Bundesliga champion summer for the massive fee of 17.1 million Euros this summer, looks to avoid the challenge of Argentina defender EZEQUIEL GARAY (6) of Portuguese side Benfica Lisbon during the international friendly at the venerable Waldstadion in Frankfurt, which originally opened back in 1925.
goal — Ron Robert ZIELER (Hannover 96 / 2 caps)
defense — Jerome BOATENG (Bayern Munich / 26 caps, 0 go), Mats HUMMELS (Borussia Dortmund / 20 caps, 1 go), Holger BADSTUBER (Bayern Munich / 26 caps, 1 go), Marcel SCHMELZER (Borussia Dortmund / 7 caps, 0 go)
def midfield — Lars BENDER (Bayer Leverkusen / 10 caps, 1 go), Sami KHEDIRA (Real Madrid – Spa / 33 caps, 2 go)
att midfield — Thomas MUELLER (Bayern Munich / 33 caps, 10 go), Mesut OEZIL (Real Madrid – Spa / 39 caps, 9 go), Marco REUS (Borussia Dortmund / 9 caps, 2 go)
striker — Miroslav KLOSE (SS Lazio – Ita / 122 caps, 64 go)
DF – Benedikt HOEWEDES (Schalke 04 Gelsenkirchen / 9 caps, 1 go)
for Hummels – 25th min
GK – Marc Andre TER STEGEN (Borussia Moenchengladbach / 2 caps)
for Mueller – 32nd min
MF – Andre SCHUERRLE (Bayer Leverkusen / 17 caps, 7 go)
for Klose – 62nd min
MF – Toni KROOS (Bayern Munich / 31 caps, 2 go)
for Oezil – 68th min
MF – Ilkay GUENDOGAN (Borussia Dortmund / 3 caps, 0 go)
for Khedira – 68th min
MF – Mario GOETZE (Borussia Dortmund / 16 caps, 2 go)
for Bender – 74th min
Argentina midfielder JOSE ERNESTO SOSA (8) of Ukrainian club FC Metalist Kharkiv, who spent three seasons on the books at record Bundesliga champion Bayern Munich before being offloaded to Italian Serie A side SSC Napoli last summer, goes to ground in the box after the unsuccessful challenge from Germany goalkeeper RON-ROBERT ZIELER of Hannover 96, the former youth team product of traditional English powerhouse Manchester United who was appearing in the national team shirt for just the second time ever, during the international friendly at the old Waldstadion (officially now titled the Commerzbank Arena) in Frankfurt.
goal — Sergio ROMERO (Sampdoria Genoa – Ita / 29 caps)
defense — Pablo ZABALETA (Manchester City – Eng / 25 caps, 0 go), Federico FERNANDEZ (SSC Napoli – Ita / 9 caps, 2 go), Ezequiel GARAY (Benfica Lisbon – Port / 7 caps, 0 go), Marcos ROJO (Sporting Lisbon – Port / 10 caps, 0 go)
def midfield — Javier MASCHERANO (FC Barcelona – Spa / 82 caps, 2 go), Fernando GAGO (CF Valencia – Spa / 39 caps, 0 go)
att midfield — Jose Ernesto SOSA (FC Metalist Kharkiv – Ukr / 17 caps, 1 go), Angel DI MARIA (Real Madrid – Spa / 30 caps, 7 go)
striker — Gonzalo HIGUAIN (Real Madrid – Spa / 26 caps, 13 go), Lionel MESSI (FC Barcelona – Spa / 71 caps, 27 go)
FW – Sergio AGUERO (Manchester City – Eng / 38 caps, 15 go)
for Sosa – 46th min
DF – Hugo CAMPAGNARO (SSC Napoli – Ita / 3 caps, 0 go)
for Zabaleta – 65th min
MF – Pablo GUINAZU (SC Internacional Porto Alegre – Brz / 8 caps, 0 go)
for Di Maria – 73rd min
MF – Rodrigo BRANA (Estudiantes de la Plata / 5 caps, 0 go)
for Mascherano – 79th min