Belarus draw unsettles German team ahead of Euro 2008

28th May 2008, Comments 0 comments

A 2-2 draw was all Germany could manage against a feisty Belarus side in Tuesday's Euro 2008 warm-up game in Kaiserslautern

Kaiserslautern, Germany --  Germany were held to a surprising 2-2 draw by Belarus on Tuesday night in a warm-up match for Euro 2008, a result that left plenty of room for improvement.

Bayern Munich forward Miroslav Klose opened the scoring in the 10th and an own goal from Vladimir Koryko seemed to have settled the affair another 10 minutes later.

But Belarus exposed German defensive problems as they fought back with a double by Vitali Bulyga in the 61st and 87th minutes.

"All players will be in better form in 12 days time. That's a promise," said coach Joachim Loew, whose team returned to its training camp in Majorca immediately after the match.

"The players were tired after hard training. But it was disappointing that we lost a 2-0 lead."

Real Madrid defender Christoph Metzelder and Werder Bremen's Torsten Frings returned to the German team from long injury layoffs while teenager Marko Marin of Borussia Moenchengladbach won his maiden cap in the second half.  The 19 year old has never played in a top flight game, being a surprise inclusion when the national team was announced last month.

Captain Michael Ballack only played for 45 minutes as Loew tested several options on the eve of the Euro squad nomination deadline, when he has to cut his squad from 26 to 23 players.

Germany meet Poland, Croatia and Austria in the group stage of the June 7-29 tournament in Austria and Switzerland.

Germany travel to Austria and Switzerland aiming for a fourth European title and on Tuesday wanted to raise the confidence level after beating Austria 3-0 and the Swiss 4-0 earlier in the year.

The hosts got off to a strong start and took the lead when Lukas Podolski threaded a pass to his Bayern Munich team-mate Klose, who rounded goalkeeper Vasili Khomutovsky and slotted into the empty net.

The German camp was furious when Anton Putsilo ruthless brought down Munich's Bastian Schweinsteiger, who was earning his 50th cap, by kicking him in the ankle. Schweinsteiger was replaced at halftime.

By then, Germany were up 2-0 as Koryko clumsily deflected a cross from super-quick Real Betis winger David Odonkor into his own net in the 20th.

But Belarus, led by Arsenal's Alexander Hleb, exposed some defensive weaknesses of the hosts, with Jens Lehmann needing a superb save to deny Vyacheslav Hleb on the stroke of halftime.

Belarus scored in the 61st when Bulyga took up a defence-splitting pass and beat Lehmann for the first time in 681 minutes of football. Lehmann did not look good when the Vladivostock striker grabbed the equalizer from long range with three minutes left.

"Lehmann will be between the posts on Saturday," insisted Loew, looking ahead at the final tuneup game on Saturday against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen. DPA with Expatica

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