Winless in four of their last five friendlies, Australia nearly pulled off a friendly upset over Germany behind midfielder Mile Jedinak’s gorgeously struck free kick and an eight-save performance from goalkeeper Maty Ryan Wednesday at Fritz-Walter Stadium.
Joachim Low’s side nearly suffered their third loss since claiming the World Cup last summer, if not for Lukas Podolski finishing off a late attacking push with a left-footed strike in front the net in the 81st minute off Andre Schurrle’s assist.
Jedinak picked up his second international goal of the year by powering and curving his free kick into the top right corner of keeper Ron-Robert Zieler’s net to break a 1-1 knot in the 50th minute.
The Crystal Palace star couldn’t have netted the winner without James Troisi’s equalizer in the in the 40th minute and Ryan’s timely work in net.
Catching the German defense uncharacteristically off-guard, Australia defender Jason Davidson’s throw-in found unmarked forward Nathan Burns, who levitated a perfect cross to Troisi for a header and 1-1 tie in the 40th minute.
Ryan played very well, fending off six German shots on target and 10 cornerkicks forced by their relentless attack.
Playing at forward in Low’s lineup, Marco Reus scored Germany’s first goal in the 17th minute off an assist from Sami Khedira. Marking his first goal in just the second international start of his year, Reus capped a fastbreak by gracefully sliding into Khedira’s well placed through ball from the left wing in front of Ryan’s net.
The Aussies struggled in losses to regional neighbors Japan, and Middle East squads UAE and Qatar, but can hang their heads high after stretching the defending World Cup champions so close to a loss.
Germany last fell to Poland 2-0 in European Championship qualifying on Oct. 11, and suffered 4-2 at the hands of revenge-minded Argentina in friendly action back in September.