A much weakened Germany side took advantage of a series of early errors as they beat Ecuador 4-2 in a friendly international at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla. The tone was set right from the start as Lukas Podolski punished a woeful defensive mistake to score after just nine seconds. More slackness from the South Americans allowed Germany to go 4-0 up inside 25 minutes, with two strikes from Lars Bender sandwiching Podolski’s second of the encounter. Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia and Walter Ayovi then pulled goals back late in each half.
Yet, the consolation goals could not hide a disappointing outcome from Reinadlo Rueda’s men as he looks to prepare his team for a World Cup qualifier against Peru next week. It was also out of keeping with recent performances that have seen them take second place in Conembol qualifying and looking good for a spot in next year’s World Cup.
Instead the match showed the strength in depth possessed by Germany. Following Saturday’s all-German Champions League final, no Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund players were involved, yet the second string showed that there will be plenty of competition for places going forward.
Podolski is certainly one of those players looking to remind manager Joachim Low of his talents. Even he couldn’t have imagined being gifted such an early opportunity to impress in the first match of Germany’s mini U.S. tour before taking on USA on Sunday. Right from the kick-off Ecuador looked to play it around at the back, but Podolski stole the ball from Gabriel Achilier and fired coolly past Maximo Banguera.
After his twin brother Sven Bender again exhibited his talents at Wembley, Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars took the opportunity to impress here. With less than four minutes on the clock, Germany made it 2-0 as Podolski beat a woeful offside trap and found Bender surging forward from his holding midfield role to score a second without an Ecuadorian challenge in sight.
Germany were made to wait a full 13 minutes for a third goal, that, while easy to again knock the level of defending, owed much to some fine one-touch interplay. Freiburg’s Max Kruse was the supplier with a first-time pullback from the left and Podolski smashed the ball into the net for his 46th goal for his country.
It would be hard to be so charitable with Ecuador’s part in the fourth German goal. Bender hit a powerful shot from 20 yards, but Banguera should have saved comfortably instead of allowing the ball to squirm underneath him and over the line.
From that point Ecuador showed some improvement and were rewarded when Valencia drilled the ball low past Rene Adler at his near post with a minute left in the first half. After the break Ecuador continued their positive trajectory as Germany understandably took their foot off the peddle. With six minutes remaining Ecuador pulled a further goal back to raise the specter of a potentially exciting finish when defender Walter Ayovi headed past Adler.