World: Friendlies
2 - 3
(1 - 2)
N. Füllkrug (44), S. Gnabry (87)
Y. Carrasco (6), R. Lukaku (9), K. De Bruyne (78)
By Ultan Corcoran@UltanCorcoran

Reckless start costs Germany in 5-goal thriller with Belgium

After an impressive 2-0 victory over Peru in Mainz last Saturday, Hansi Flick’s Germany faced a sterner Belgian opposition tonight. The cathedral city of Köln would host the occasion. Meanwhile, there was the familiar face of Domenico Tedesco stood in the Belgian technical area. The Ex-Schalke and Leipzig gaffer was recently installed as Red Devils’ head coach in February of this year. In the end, it would be a thrilling victory for Belgium as the held out for a 3-2 win. Germany’s hard work ultimately undercut by a woeful opening 20 minutes.
The German crowd that filled Köln’s RheinEnergie Stadion was stunned into silence inside 10 minutes tonight. A rip-roaring start from Belgium saw them 2-0 to the good, as Yannick Carrasco set the visitors on their way. Three minutes later it would be Belgium’s all-time top scorer Lukaku with the ball in Ter Stegen’s net. Dodi Lukebakio and Romelu Lukaku could have added third and fourth goals inside 21 minutes. The latter cannoned his header off the crossbar, while the Hertha Berlin man inexcusably spurned a one-on-one effort.

A bad opening half-hour got worse when Goretzka was forced off with an apparent ankle issue. Not something any Bayern fans would be keen to see with ‘Der Klassiker’ to come on Saturday. However, ‘Die Mannschaft’ would find some solace just before the interval – Niclas Füllkrug’s goal bound header struck Lukaku’s hand inside the box. The Bundesliga top-scorer converted with ease from the spot to reduce the arrears.

Flick’s Germany made a brighter start to second-half proceedings. A Füllkrug header before the hour mark marginally cleared the bar. Meanwhile, Timo Werner had the ball in Casteels’ net swiftly after, but the Leipzig man would be ruled offside.

However, it would be Belgium who restored their two-goal lead in the 78th minute. Substitute Leandro Trossard crossed to former Bremen and Wolfsburg man Kevin De Bruyne. The man who set up his side’s first two goals, stroked home in nonchalant fashion. Kevin Schade and Serge Gnabry would combine to make it 3-2 on 87 minutes which set up a grand slam finish. In the end, Belgium would hold on for victory.

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