Calm down, it’s just three of world football’s biggest teams going head to head in these international friendlies
From Friday 23 March, 7.30pm, BT Sport 3/HD (CH 533/529)
The sun rises and it sets. The tide comes in and it goes out. And the German football team reaches at least the last four of every single major international tournament.
OK, OK, so the third statement isn’t quite as certain as the previous two. But it is correct to say that Die Mannschaft have reached the semi-finals of every major international tournament they have played in since the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup. It is true to state that they are the current FIFA World Cup winners. It is accurate to assert that they won all ten of their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches. And it is right to decree that they are currently the favourites for the World Cup this summer.
So what chance does anyone else have? On the pitch, you can find out by tuning into BT Sport for the reigning world champions’ top-drawer friendly matches against Spain and Brazil (who will be looking for revenge following their 7-1 mauling by the Germans at the last World Cup). Off the pitch, you can take hope from these five moments when Germany were just the wurst…
1. UEFA Euro 2000
Germany’s abject UEFA Euro 2000 campaign began with a 1-1 draw against Romania, continued with a 1-0 loss to England and ended with a 3-0 hammering from a Portuguese side who had rested a number of their star players. “Germany is ashamed of you!” cried popular daily newspaper Bild, before going on to call the team, “Europe’s football twits.” Ouch.
2. Germany 1-5 England (2001)
Was it a dream? Sometimes it feels like it. But no: on 1 September 2001, Sven-Göran Eriksson’s England side did go to Munich and hammer Germany 5-1 in a World Cup qualifier. Michael Owen bagged himself a hat-trick, while Liverpool teammates Steven Gerrard and Emile Heskey also got in on the act.
3. Romania 5-1 Germany (2004)
“We let ourselves be slaughtered,” lamented German captain Oliver Kahn after his side geared up for UEFA Euro 2004 with a 5-1 defeat against an under-strength Romania. Still, things would get better when the tournament arrived, right? Wrong. After drawing their opening two matches, Germany lost 2-1 to the Czech Republic to go out in the group stages.
4. UEFA Euro 2012
It’s natural to assume that Germany have a brilliant record against every opponent, but that’s not actually the case. Prior to beating Italy on penalties in the quarter-finals of UEFA Euro 2016, they had failed to defeat the Azzuri in any of the eight matches they’d played against them at major tournaments. The last of these botched attempts was perhaps the most painful, with two Mario Balotelli goals powering Italy to a shock victory in the semi-finals of UEFA Euro 2012.
5. October 2015 to May 2016
Sure, Germany are currently on a 21-match unbeaten run that stretches back to their UEFA Euro 2016 semi-final loss to France. But between October 2015 and May 2016 they suffered a horrendous dip in form that saw them lose four out of the six matches they played. The teams who beat them during this time were Republic of Ireland, France, England and Slovakia, who brushed Joachim Löw’s team aside 3-1.
Live international football on BT Sport on Virgin TV
Germany v Spain
Friday 23 March, 7.30pm, BT Sport 3/HD (CH 533/529)
Germany v Brazil
Tuesday 27 March, 7.30pm, BT Sport 2/HD (CH 532/528)
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