Paraguay hold Germany in six-goal thriller
Kaiserslautern: Germany had to fight back from two goals down to share a 3-3 draw with Paraguay in Wednesday`s warm-up friendly in Kaiserslautern ahead of the return of World Cup qualifying.
Paraguay looked to be heading for a first win over the hosts after bagging two goals in the first 15 minutes against a strong Germany team missing only Bayern Munich pair Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Goetze.
Goals by Paraguay striker Jose Ariel Nunez and midfielder Wilson Pittoni were cancelled out when Ilkay Gundogan and Thomas Mueller pulled Germany back to 2-2 in a busy opening half-hour.
But the visitors took a deserved lead into the break after winger Miguel Samudio scored their third and only an equaliser 15 minutes from time by Bayer Leverkusen`s Lars Bender saved Germany`s blushes.
Paraguay started by giving their German hosts a masterclass in finishing with their first two shots both producing goals.
A superb long ball from defender Salustiano Candia beat the hosts` defence and Nunez darted onto the ball to drive his shot past Germany`s Manuel Neuer on nine minutes.
The disarray in the stunned hosts` defence was further demonstrated four minutes later when Sami Khedira mistimed his clearance, which fell to the grateful Pittoni, who celebrated his 28th birthday with Paraguay`s second goal.
With a chorus of whistles ringing around the sold-out 47,500-capacity Fritz-Walter-Stadion, Germany were reeling, leaving coach Joachim Loew furious on the sidelines with their 4-3 defeat to the USA in Washington DC in June`s friendly still fresh in the memory.
The hosts hit back as first Borussia Dortmund`s Gundogan curled his shot around Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar on 18 minutes, then Bayern Munich`s Thomas Mueller trapped a ball over the Paraguay defence and slotted home with 31 minutes gone.
However, Paraguay, quarter-finalists at the 2010 World Cup but currently bottom of South American qualifying for the 2014 finals, got back in front in added time at the end of the first half when left winger Samudio drilled home.
The Germans only got themselves back on level terms when defensive midfielder Lars Bender chested the ball down on the edge of the penalty area and rifled his shot into the far corner 15 minutes from time.
In the end, a draw was a fair result, but Loew will want to see far fewer defensive errors when Germany host Austria in Munich on September 6, then travel to the Faroe Islands on September 10 in qualifying action.