By Peter Herrnreiter
Tight defending and lackadaisical attacking were on display today as Sweden hosted Germany in an international friendly in Gothenburg. Germany, who fielded four first time internationals, had a difficult time breaking the Swedish backline, with Toni Kroos coming the closest to any real scoring chance for either side.
German manager Joachim Loew decided to use the match to his advantage, fielding defender Marcel Schmelzer and midfielder Lewis Holtby in the starting XI, while later adding Mario Goetze and Andre Schurrle in the second half. A host of German regular games was absent for the trip to the north, as Philipp Lahm, Thomas Mueller and Mesut Özil were all left at home at the behest of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid respectively.
Sweden however fielded a mostly experimented XI, with only Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Olof Mellberg missing the action. Swedish league scoring leader Alexander Gerndt was added in the 87th minute for his first Swedish cap.
The first half did indeed see on various scoring opportunities on the attacking end with Marcel Schmelzer and Sami Khedira both having opportunities through well placed strikes, while Sweden’s Pontus Wernbloom hit a shot that was never going towards goal and was directed firmly into the seats.
After the break, the black clad visitors had a few more chances through Holtby and Kross, however after a quarter left in the match, both sides seemed to settle back into their defensive patters with the match ending in a yawn inducing nil all draw.
Of the match, Gomez noted, “It was difficult today. The pitch wasn’t very good and Sweden was good defensively today, so it was difficult for us to create chances. I think 0-0 is fair.”
Next on the docket for Germany is a rematch of the 2006 World Cup quarterfinal in Dortmund against Italy on the ninth of February. The Swedish will have to wait until March for their next scheduled international match as they host Moldova.