WARSAW, June 17 (AP): Poland paid tribute to former captain Jakub Blaszczykowski and defeated Germany 1-0 in his last game for the country on Friday.
Jakub Kiwior scored for Poland and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny produced a fine display to deny Germany, which was again left to stew on its shortcomings, mired by a lack of confidence after three straight friendly games without a win.
Germany has beaten only Peru since it was knocked out in the group stage of the World Cup and remains in dire need of improvement before it hosts the European Championship next year.
“I’m very confident about our path,” Germany coach Hansi Flick said with a view to the tournament. “We’ll have a team that works next June.”
The 37-year-old Blaszczykowski, who made 109 appearances for Poland, fought tears as he went off in the 16th minute – his number for the national team – and was clapped by teammates and feted by the home support.
There was a lengthy hold up in play for the tributes as Blaszczykowski bowed to each side of the stadium and was embraced by his family when he came off the field.
Blaszczykowski played most of his club career in Germany, winning two Bundesliga titles with Borussia Dortmund in 2011 and 2012.
Flick made a host of changes to the team that was fortunate to draw with Ukraine 3-3 on Monday, with Marc-André ter Stegen starting in goal and defender Malick Thiaw making his Germany debut.
Thilo Kehrer, Jonas Hofmann, Benjamin Henrichs, Emre Can, Florian Wirtz, Kai Havertz and Jamal Musiala also started, meaning nine changes altogether, while Thiaw’s inclusion meant yet another unfamiliar backline.
Though Thiaw and others played well individually, Flick’s changes just seemed to add to the players’ uncertainly and perhaps belied his own.
Germany dominated possession but struggled to break through Poland’s hard-working defense. Kehrer and Havertz tried their luck from distance. Szczesny was able to handle both before Kiwior scored with a header to a corner in the 31st. The home team went on to finish the first half in the ascendancy.
Flick made another change at halftime with Robin Gosens going on for Hofmann, but it was Havertz again who went closest. Again, Szczesny was equal to it.
Szczesny produced more saves to deny Gosens, Thiaw, then late substitutes Marius Wolf and Leon Goretzka.