Poland beats Germany 2-0 for 1st win over neighbor
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland defeated World Cup champion Germany 2-0 in their European Championship qualifier on Saturday for its first win over its neighbor at the 19th attempt.
Arkadiusz Milik scored with Poland’s first shot on target in the 51st minute, heading Lukasz Piszczek’s floated cross to the empty net after Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer missed it.
Robert Lewandowski set up Sebastian Mila to score inside the far post in the 88th.
“We’re delighted to have beaten Germany for the first time. You can see how much it means to people,” said Piszczek, who plays club football for German side Borussia Dortmund.
“We had a little bit of luck, that’s why we won. We took our chances. We had two or three, and we scored two goals. Germany had a lot of chances and they didn’t take them.”
The Polish-born Lukas Podolski came closest for Germany, but struck the crossbar in the 80th, three minutes after coming on a substitute, and there was still time for Mario Goetze to blaze over and Toni Kroos to shoot narrowly over from a free kick, albeit after Mila sealed the result.
“I can’t fault the team, but perhaps we should have made more of our chances,” Germany coach Joachim Loew said.
Poland handed Germany its first defeat after 18 competitive games, and its first loss in qualifying after 33 matches since a 3-0 loss at home to the Czech Republic in October 2007.
Earlier, Robbie Keane scored a hat trick in a 13-minute span to help Group D rival Ireland to a 7-0 rout of Gibraltar in Dublin, and Scotland scraped a 1-0 win over Georgia in Glasgow thanks to Akaki Khubutia’s first-half own goal.
After two games, Poland and Ireland lead the group with maximum points, with Germany and Scotland behind on three. Germany hosts Ireland in Gelsenkirchen on Tuesday, while Poland plays Scotland in Warsaw.
Loew surprised many by handing Karim Bellarabi his debut, and the Bayer Leverkusen winger was Germany’s best attacking threat in a first half of limited chances.
Poland’s committed start prevented the visitors from settling into the game. The best chances came before halftime as Germany found a groove. Bellarabi went close, Thomas Mueller was forced wide, Bellarabi forced a save from Wojciech Szczesny, and Mats Hummels fired over.
“I don’t think we played a bad game. We created a lot of chances,” Neuer said.
The second half started slowly, until Milik capitalized on Neuer’s misjudgment to bring the game to life.
“I was too late but of course I wanted to get the ball,” Neuer said. “It was my mistake. But if I’d stayed on the line I wouldn’t have got the ball either.”
Goetze and Andre Schuerrle, twice, sought a response but found Szczesny equal to their efforts. Eric Durm failed to trouble the Poland goalkeeper after Mueller set him up, and was at fault for the second goal when Lewandowski got behind him and set up Mila’s clincher.
“He was perhaps badly positioned,” acknowledged Loew, who said his side would seek to make amends against Ireland.
“After a loss you always need to show a good reaction,” Loew said.