Six goals, a carnival atmosphere and a whole lot of nostalgia – the first ever DFB All Stars international against the Azzurri legends ended 3-3 in front of 6,527 fans at the Sportpark Ronhof | Thomas Sommer in Fürth. Four World Cup winners and a European champion were among the Germany squad that faced an Italian side boasting 14 world champions in their squad.
Time had aged these former greats, but despite the grey hairs and extra few pounds around the waist, the hunger and passion for the beautiful game were as strong as ever once the 22 men took the pitch. As was the determination to win, even in a friendly match.
1974 World Cup winner Berti Vogts managed the side and saw his XI almost go in front after just three minutes when 2002 World Cup runner up Gerald Asamoah attempted an audacious chip that brushed past the far post. Germany, with a combined 767 international caps on the pitch, continued the early pressure and were soon rewarded. David Odonkor broke into the box on the right and attempted a low cross that was unfortunately turned in by Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro (10’). A second goal followed soon after, once again with the help of an Italian defender. This time it was Christian Panucci whose attempted clearance from a Jürgen Klinsmann shot ended up in the back of his own net.
Luca Toni hit back for the visitors with a clinical, low shot past 2014 World Cup winner Roman Weidenfeller (21’), as the Italians – with an average age ten years younger than the Germans – slowly assumed control of the half. The equaliser soon followed from Francesco Totti (34‘), while Weidenfeller denied Andrea Pirlo the lead with a sensational save moments later.
There were plenty of substitutions on both sides of the half time whistle, including former East Germany keeper Perry Bräutigam replacing Weidenfeller between the sticks. The second half was played very much in the middle of the park; the Italians keeping the ball moving while the Germans defended deep and disciplined.
With the game seemingly destined to end in a draw, Damiano Tommasi popped up with a looping header to put Italy in front with a little more than ten minutes left on the clock. Germany ramped up the pressure in search of a late equaliser and, after a couple of missed chances from Piotr Trochowski and Klinsmann, were rewarded when Philipp Wollscheid headed in from Maurizio Gaudino’s free kick (90+1').
Most importantly, both teams survived the match without any real knocks or injuries. Only Thomas Berthold, who injured himself during the warm-up, was unable to play.