Germans scrape Japan draw
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Germany had to come from 2-0 down to earn a 2-2 draw against Japan.
Germany had to come from 2-0 down to earn a 2-2 draw against Japan in their World Cup warm-up match in Leverkusen.
The World Cup hosts found themselves two goals behind after Naohiro Takahara scored twice inside eight minutes to put Japan in charge.
Jurgen Klinsmann's men had to rally late on and, after Miroslav Klose had headed them back into the game on 76 minutes, Bastian Schweinsteiger salvaged a draw with his effort ten minutes from time.
Takahara, who plies his trade in Germany with Hamburg, although he will join Eintracht Frankfurt next season, notched his first goal in the 57th minute.
Klinsmann will not be happy with the way his side defended throughout the match, and Japan fully deserved their lead when Takahara went past Michael Ballack and Torsten Frings before firing past Jens Lehmann.
Takahara made it two in the 65th minutes and Germany were deep in trouble just ten days before they open the World Cup against Costa Rica.
Klose brought them back into the contest when he bundled in Schweinsteiger's 76th-minute free kick before the taker himself headed in four minutes later to make it 2-2.
Substitute Masashi Oguro had the chance to win it for Japan late on when he broke through, but could not beat Lehmann.
"It was hard, we are in the middle of preparations and it showed - our legs were tired. This is normal, we still have 10 days and the main thing is we came back," said Germany captain Ballack.
Japan's Brazilian coach Zico looked to have his side in great order and was happy with the performance.
"We developed our game very well and we led and that was very good, and we could have won," said Zico.
"We played many quick passes and had many chances and we could have scored more. We are at a good stage."
Germany plays Colombia on Friday in Moenchengladbach in its final test before the World Cup, while Japan will be buoyed by a good display, as they prepare to face Brazil, Australia and Croatia in a tough World Cup group.