Germany manager Joachim Low slammed striker Timo Werner’s close-range miss as the four-time World Cup-winners suffered a stunning Qatar 2022 home qualifying loss to North Macedonia on Wednesday in Duisburg.
Germany fell behind right before half-time when 37-year-old Goran Pandev was left unmarked in the box and beat keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who replaced team captain Manuel Neuer in goal.
Ikay Gundogan equalised from the penalty spot and Chelsea striker Werner had the chance to put Germany in front, only to scuff his shot when presented with a glorious chance inside the penalty box. North Macedonia sealed the historic win when Eljif Elmas made it 2-1 with five minutes remaining
“He must put that ball away, no question at all,” Joachim Low said on RTL after the match. “He has shown here he can score goals.
“But he doesn’t hit the ball right with his left foot, if he makes a clean contact with the ball it’s a goal.”
Low, who has been Germany manager since 2006 and won the 2014 World Cup, will leave his post after the 2021 European Championship. This was his first ever defeat in a World Cup qualifier with Germany.
Germany had only ever lost two World Cup qualifiers in their entire history, having previously lost to Portugal in 1985 and England in 2001.
“This defeat is on us today,” Low said. “The disappointment is big if you lose like that.”
Manchester City’s Gundogan added: “We must not lose against such an opponent. I can’t explain it.”