It was a tale of two German teams on Friday.
As good as Germany looked in their 4-0 victory over Australia, they were beatable in a 1-0 loss to Serbia (who had previously lost their first game against Ghana).
It was akin to opposite day for the Germans.
While Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski showed their great World Cup form against Australia, both struggled terribly against Serbia.
Klose received two yellow cards and was ejected before the first half ended, and Podolski was given a golden opportunity to put the Germans in position to earn a draw. But Serbian keeper Vladimir Stojkovic saved Podolski's penalty kick.
Both yellows Klose received were a bit questionable. But the two-time World Cup veteran should have known better, especially on the second card. He will now be ejected for the match against Ghana.
The German youngsters made a huge impact in the first game. In the second group play game, their youth and inexperience showed.
Defender Holger Badstuber helped the Germans keep a clean sheet against Australia. However, he was abused down the flank by Serbian midfielder Milos Krasic.
Krasic used a combination of speed and change of direction to keep Badstuber on his heels, and constantly on the chase.
Mesut Ozil was extremely dangerous the first game, making a ton of runs. However, Serbia clogged up the middle of the field and left no space for Ozil to dart through, rendering him ineffective.
Then there was Thomas Muller.
A goal scorer against the Socceroos, Muller was invisible against the White Eagles. Out on the right flank, his name was hardly ever mentioned and he supplied nothing to the attack.
It was not a good day for Die Mannschaf, but there was a little bit of optimism to take from the game.
Even with only 10 men on the field, the Germans held a 58 percent to 42 percent possession advantage, and pushed for the equalizer while not breaking on the counter.
With a full team on the pitch, including Klose, the outcome could’ve been different.
But they still lost. The Germans must bounce back. Their situation is not an easy one.
The Germans are currently tied for second in the group with Serbia, who will play Australia next.
The Aussies are last in the group. And although they will have Tim Cahill back, they will be without Harry Kewell, who received a red card against Ghana.
Ghana heads the group with four points and will not be an easy opponent. Asomoah Gyan has looked quite impressive this World Cup, and is a very speedy, goal-hungry striker.
Watching how Badstuber was unable to contain Krasic, Gyan might focus his attack in that direction.
The Black Stars may also follow the Serbians lead, and put an extra midfielder in the center of the pitch, in order to lessen the space Ozil has to run through. Ozil will be an important player in the German attack without Klose available. And if he cannot get going, the team may have trouble scoring.
Much like the Germans shouldn’t have assumed a World Cup title after a great initial performance, they shouldn’t feel too down about their second match.
A win against Ghana and the Germans advance to the knockout stage.
That being said, the team faces a more difficult path than they anticipated.
And their work is definitely cut out for them.
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