Normally teammates in the professional football ranks with record Bundesliga champion Bayern Munich, Holland winger ARJEN ROBBEN (11) races after the ball with Germany captain PHILIPP LAHM (16) during the scoreless and unspectacular international friendly match witnessed by 51,000 spectators at the Amsterdam Arena in Holland.
With national teams both minus the services of several ‘big-name’ players, it probably should have come as no great surprise, then, that traditional neighboring rivals GERMANY and the NETHERLANDS ground out a 0-0 draw in an international friendly that was criticized by many for its dull and uninspiring football.
This match was, of course, the last international contest of the 2012 calendar year for Germany, who defeated their long-time nemesis next door from the Netherlands 2-1 at the group stage of the UEFA European Championships final tournament earlier this summer.
Holland, who are now managed by former Bayern Munich trainer LOUIS VAN GAAL, were without injured striker ROBIN VAN PERSIE of English Premier League club FC Arsenal of London. Overlooked for the friendly with Germany by van Gaal was experienced target man KLAAS JAN HUNTELAAR, the Schalke 04 Gelsenkirchen striker who led the German top flight with 29 goals in 32 Bundesliga matches last term. Selected as the central striker at the Amsterdam Arena, then, was veteran DIRK KUYT, the 32-year-old approaching the century mark of caps for Holland who just left FC Liverpool after six seasons in England to sign with Turkish club SK Fenerbahce Istanbul for the special transfer rate of 1.0 million Euros.
Trainer JUERGEN LOEW, meanwhile, decided not to field a ‘natural’ central striker at all in his Startelf against Holland at the Amsterdam Arena. Instead, the German tactician chose to rotate four players — MARIO GOETZE of Borussia Dortmund, LEWIS HOLTBY of Schalke 04 Gelsenkirchen, MARCO REUS of Borussia Dortmund and Thomas MUELLER of BAYERN MUNICH — up front all throughout the course of the international match. The idea behind the strategy, of course, was to, hopefully, create confusion for the Dutch markig system.
Germany midfielder ILKAY GUENDOGAN of two-time defending Bundesliga champion Borussia Dortmund was unlucky not to register his first international goal shortly before the halftime break but Holland defender JOHN HEITINGA of English Premier League club FC Everton was able to clear the line.
Germany goalkeeper MANUEL NEUER of Bayern Munich made a confident save to turn a rocket from Holland substitute defender DARRYL JANMAAT of Feyenoord Rotterdam over the crossbar in the second half and preserve the shutout at the other end of the pitch; the Netherlands might have snatched a winner not so long afterwards, but substitute winger ELJERO ELIA of German side Werder Bremen, the former SV Hamburg and 2010 Holland World Cup winger back in the Bundesliga this season after a wasted term with Italian Serie A giant FC Juventus of Turin, blasted well over.
Germany winger MARCO REUS could have settled the issue late but, as the Borussia Dortmund summer signing had done towards the end of the first half, did not get his shot on target.
Holland goalkeeper KENNETH VERMEER (1) of Ajax Amsterdam celebrated his senior international debut for the Netherlands national team by not only starting the prestige friendly against traditional powerhouse Germany but finishing the match at the Amsterdam Arena with a clean sheet, as well.
goal — Kenneth VERMEER (Ajax Amsterdam / 1 cap)
defense — Ricardo VAN RHIJN (Ajax Amsterdam / 5 caps, 0 go), John HEITINGA (FC Everton – Eng / 85 caps, 7 go), Ron VLAAR (FC Aston Villa – Eng / 14 caps, 1 go), Bruno MARTINS INDI (Feyenoord Rotterdam / 6 caps, 2 go)
def midfield — Nigel DE JONG (AC Milan – Ita / 67 caps, 1 go), Rafael VAN DER VAART (SV Hamburg – Ger / 103 caps, 21 go)
att midfield — Ruben SCHAKEN (Feyenoord Rotterdam / 2 caps, 1 go), Ibrahim AFFELAY (Schalke 04 Gelsenkirchen – Ger / 44 caps, 5 go), Arjen ROBBEN (Bayern Munich – Ger / 63 caps, 17 go)
striker — Dirk KUYT (SK Fenerbahce Istanbul – Trk / 92 caps, 24 go)
DF – Daryl JANMAAT (Feyenoord Rotterdam / 3 caps, 0 go)
for van Rhijn – 46th min
DF – Stefan DE VRIJ (Feyenoord Rotterdam / 2 caps, 0 go)
for Heitinga – 46th min
MF – Eljero ELIA (Werder Bremen – Ger / 28 caps, 2 go)
for Robben – 46th min
MF – Marco VAN GINKEL (FC Vitesse Arnhem / 1 cap, 0 go)
for Affelay – 59th min
MF – Urby EMANUELSSON (AC Milan / 16 caps, 0 go)
for van der Vaart – 72nd min
The Startelf for DEUTSCHLAND, with a genuine central striker conspicuously absent from trainer JUERGEN LOEW’s line-up, pause for the traditional team photograph just prior to the start of the international friendly match with the national team of the neighboring Netherlands at the Amsterdam Arena.
goal — Manuel NEUER (Bayern Munich / 36 caps)
defense — Benedikt HOEWEDES (Schalke 04 Gelsenkirchen / 10 caps, 1 go), Per MERTESACKER (FC Arsenal – Eng / 85 caps, 2 go), Mats HUMMELS (Borussia Dortmund / 23 caps, 1 go), Philipp LAHM (Bayern Munich / 95 caps, 5 go)
def midfield — Lars BENDER (Bayer Leverkusen / 11 caps, 1 go), Ilkay GUENDOGAN (Borussia Dortmund / 4 caps, 0 go)
att midfield — Thomas MUELLER (Bayern Munich / 38 caps, 10 go), Lewis HOLTBY (Schalke 04 Gelsenkirchen / 3 caps, 0 go), Marco REUS (Borussia Dortmund / 14 caps, 5 go)
striker — Mario GOETZE (Borussia Dortmund / 20 caps, 3 go)
MF – Lukas PODOLSKI (FC Arsenal – Eng / 106 caps, 44 go)
for Goetze – 72nd min
MF – Sven BENDER (Borussia Dortmund / 3 caps, 0 go)
for L. Bender – 83rd min
MF – Andre SCHUERRLE (Bayer Leverkusen / 20 caps, 7 go)
for Mueller – 84th min
MF – Roman NEUSTAEDTER (Schalke 04 Gelsenkirchen / 1 cap, 0 go)
for Holtby – 87th min
MF – Julian DRAXLER (Schalke 04 Gelsenkirchen / 3 caps, 0 go)
for Reus – 90th +2 min