Germany head coach Joachim Low was left “bitter” after the country’s shock loss at home to North Macedonia in World Cup qualifying.
Low’s Germany were sensationally humbled in Duisburg, where the four-time world champions suffered a 2-1 defeat on Wednesday.
Ilkay Gundogan had cancelled out Goran Pandev’s opener before Eljif Elmas restored North Macedonia’s lead with five minutes remaining as Germany lost a World Cup qualifier for the first time since September 2001 – a run of 35 matches.
The defeat left Germany third in Group J, level on points with North Macedonia and three points adrift of pacesetters Armenia, who have won all three matches so far.
“We are hugely disappointed after this bitter defeat tonight,” Low, who will vacate his post following the rescheduled Euro 2020, told reporters. “We did not manage to find our way into the game like we did in the last two games.
“We had some good approaches but this was a real setback. As a first analysis, there are a couple of reasons for that. We were lacking pace and fast passing, we ran a lot with the ball and had many passing errors while moving forward. We did not find any appropriate means against the deep positioned North Macedonians.
“We also ran into many counterattacks due to passing errors and bad positioning. We did not have any access to our opponent when they were in the box during these counter attacks.
“We were equally staffed against the opponent during both goals. So positioning in the box was bad. But we also missed many chances in the first half and didn’t punish them. We had a chance to go in front where it was two against one with Ilkay and Timo Werner.
“You had the feeling that this missed chance broke the team mentally. We tried it but we couldn’t play as we usually managed to. We just weren’t able to win this game today.”