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Germany 1-0 Wales

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Germany's Piotr Trochowski hit a screamer for the winner

By Peter Shuttleworth

Wales slipped to defeat against Germany in their 2010 World Cup qualifying Group Four match in Monchengladbach.

Piotr Trochowski's swerving shot broke Wales' resistance in the 72nd minute, while Michael Ballack hit the post.

James Collins was inspirational in the Welsh defence, with goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey producing a series of stops.

Before Germany scored, Craig Bellamy forced a good save from Rene Adler and late on Chris Gunter should have done better with a clear sight of goal.

It was Wales' first defeat to a unified Germany team on their soil in a victory that extends the hosts' lead over Russia at the summit of Group Four.

Wales slip to third in the table with six point from their four games so far and resume their campaign at home to Finland on 28 March.

Hennessey in the Wales goal endured a busy time as German shots rained on his goal, but a mixture of heroic defending and poor finishing always kept the visitors in the game.

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Experienced centre-back James Collins, starting his first game for 10 months after recovering from a serious knee injury, was immediately called into action with some heroic defending to keep out Germany captain Ballack.

The Chelsea midfielder, who had recovered from calf trouble to play, let fly from 25 yards but Collins bravely threw himself in front of the effort.

Wales continued to keep Germany at arm's length before Bellamy gave the hosts a warning; the Welsh captain flashing a shot just wide.

Collins was the hero again on the half-hour mark as he hacked clear Lucas Podolski's dangerous cut-back as Miroslav Klose was waiting to pounce.

We lost to 'super' goal - Toshack

Bayern Munich star Podolski skipped past Craig Morgan with ease but as he looked to tee-up Klose, Collins' positioning was exemplary as he was able to intercept a certain goal.

Bastian Schweinsteiger, the German playmaker who inspired his team to victory in Cardiff last September, then took aim but his 30-yard drive was just too high as it skimmed off Hennessey's crossbar and over.

Germany were starting to get frustrated by a disciplined Wales defence, expertly marshalled by Collins who was showing how much he had been missed during his injury nightmare.

The Welsh were restricting Germany to long-range efforts but after half-time, the game opened up, much to Wales' frustration, as Germany cranked up the heat on their visitors - who are 58 places below them in the world rankings.

Collins, almost inevitably, denied Trochowski as he seemed set to score - the 25-year-old defender's lunge deflecting his strike wide.

And the Hamburg midfielder had another chance to break the deadlock 10 minutes after the break when Schweinsteiger pulled the ball back into his path, but this time an embarrassing miss kick saved Wales.

Bellamy, meanwhile, was proving a constant thorn in Germany's defence and reminded the hosts of Wales' attacking threat as he brought the best out of Germany goalie Adler.

David Edwards flicked Gareth Bale's long, angled ball into Bellamy's path but the West Ham striker's angled shot was pushed wide by Adler.

Bellamy disappointed with defeat

But at the other end, Collins, Bellamy's club-mate for West Ham and powered by sheer adrenalin in his first game since December, continued to be Wales' saviour.

Podolski's left-wing cut-back from Ballack's deft ball into the box was heading for substitute Patrick Helmes, on for Klose at half-time, but somehow Collins got between man and ball.

Wales were still threatening on the counter-attack but the siege on their goal remained relentless and only Hennessey's legs saved from Heiko Westermann's effort.

Schweinsteiger hit two long-range efforts wide before Wales' brave - and tiring - resistance was finally broken in the 72nd minute by the threatening Trochowski.

A quickly-taken German corner was given to the 24-year-old and he twisted David Edwards inside and out before smashing a 25-yard shot from the left-hand side of the box into the far, top corner of Hennessey's goal.

It was a first international goal for Trochowski, the man who is top of the German Bundesliga with Hamburg.

Ballack so nearly doubled the advantage just two minutes later as the fluent Germans started to swagger.

He whipped a 25-yard free-kick over the Wales wall and past Hennessey but his right-hand post saved Wales.

Gunter had an unexpected chance to level when Bellamy's cross found him well placed in the area but his shot was blocked and Wales' final chance was gone.

Germany continued to press forward but Ashley Williams prevented Wales going further behind in the final 10 minutes as the Swansea defender blocked another Schweinsteiger strike after Thomas Hitzlsperger's shot had been saved by Hennessey.


Germany: Adler, Friedrich (Fritz 64), Westermann, Mertesacker, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Ballack, Hitzlsperger, Trochowski, Podolski (Gomez 82), Klose (Helmes 45).
Subs Not Used: Wiese, Tasci, Rolfes, Frings.

Goals: Trochowski 72.

Wales: Hennessey, Gunter (Ricketts 86), Bale, Morgan, Collins, Williams, Davies, Koumas, Fletcher (Evans 76), Edwards (Robinson 76), Bellamy.
Subs Not Used: Myhill, Cotterill, Nyatanga, Vaughan.

Booked: Ricketts.

Att: 44,500

Ref: Laurent Duhamel (France).


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Germany's Michael Ballack 7.50 (on 90 minutes)

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see also
Bellamy bemoans brave Welsh loss
15 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Wales 2-0 Liechtenstein
11 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Pick your Wales XI
05 Feb 07 |  Internationals
International tables
26 Nov 07 |  Tables
Wales' international fixtures
22 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Wales' results archive
10 Oct 05 |  Internationals
BBC Sport Wales coverage
23 Mar 08 |  Wales


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