Germany suffered a shock loss this week as Joachim Löw’s side were on the receiving end of a North Macedonia defeat.
The 2-1 result ended a run of 35 consecutive World Cup qualifiers without a defeat. The last time Germany were beaten in a World Cup qualifier was a famous 5-1 defeat to Sven Goran Eriksson’s England side back in 2001.
Germany Suffer North Macedonia Defeat
The Story of the Night
Before kick-off, Germany’s players unfurled a banner supporting human rights.
It proved a frustrating evening for the four-time World Cup champions. Germany controlled the tempo of the game and applied a great deal of pressure in the first half. Despite their dominance, Die Mannschaft were hesitant and lethargic in the final third and couldn’t take advantage of their 70 per cent possession. North Macedonia took a shock lead on the stroke of half time when 37-year-old forward Goran Pandev scored.
Germany levelled during the second half through an Illkay Gundogan penalty. However, they continued to frustrate in front of goal and failed to break down a deep North Macedonia defence. Out of form Timo Werner missed a crucial opportunity ten minutes from time and Germany were made to pay late in the game when Eljif Elmas snatched the winner for North Macedonia in the 85th minute.
The result has sent shock waves around Europe and has been labelled as a “disaster” by German captain Illkay Gundogan. North Macedonia are ranked 65th in the world and have never qualified for an international tournament in their history. Speaking to reporters after the game, the outgoing Germany manager Löw said: “We couldn’t find a way to break down a deep-lying North Macedonia team. Our organisation inside the box wasn’t good.”
North Macedonia’s win was their second in Group J and means they are in second place with six points, three behind leaders Armenia with Germany in third. North Macedonia coach Igor Angelovski added: “These lads have made North Macedonia proud against the winners of four World Cup titles and three European Championships. We’ve never beaten a team with so many titles. Now we have to get some rest as what we have accomplished still hasn’t sunk in.”
What Next For Germany After North Macedonia Defeat?
The result is a worrying sign for Germany in the build-up to the European Championships this summer. Since crashing out of the World Cup group stage in 2018, there has been a huge transition in the core of Germany’s squad. The likes of Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Bastian Schweinsteiger have all announced their retirement from international football. Löw’s side are reliant on the next generation of talent to thrive in the squad. The likes of Werner, Kai Havertz and Leroy Sane are all expected to play an important role in future tournaments.
The huge concern for Germany entering Euro 2020 is that a number of these key players are out of form. Timo Werner was a prolific goalscorer in the Bundesliga but has struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League. He has managed just five goals from 28 games since moving to London. Havertz has also struggled to recapture his form since joining Chelsea for £72 million in the summer.
Euro 2020 will be Joachim Lôw’s final tournament as manager. He has announced his intention to leave Germany at the end of the tournament. He will be hoping to add to his excellent record as Germany manager having guided them to a World Cup triumph in 2014. His side have an immensely talented squad but they will need vast improvement if they are to order to avoid a repeat of the 2018 World Cup.
To progress from the group stage Germany will have to qualify from the group of death having been drawn against Portugal, France and Hungary in Group F.