Germany has drawn 2-2 in its penultimate friendly game ahead of the World Cup. Two familiar faces, international star Samuel Eto'o and Mainz's Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting, spoiled the home party in Mönchengladbach.
Coach Joachim Löw fielded one of the strongest teams available to him - albeit still missing captain Philipp Lahm and goalie Manuel Neuer - for the World Cup test against Cameroon.
The final score of 2-2 can not have met the German camp's expectations, given that the game was billed as a useful exercise preparing for the group game against Ghana in Brazil later this month.
Per Mertesacker, captain for the night in central defense, complained about the sometimes disjointed build-up play ahead of him after the game.
"As soon as we start giving possession away cheaply, we'll face problems from any team in the world," Mertesacker said on ARD public television after the final whistle.
Wasteful in early stages
The first 15 minutes were arguably Germany's brightest period of the 90. Mesut Özil fired wide from just a few meters out with less than 45 seconds on the clock, Marco Reus looked dangerous early on, and Mertesacker headed not far over Charles Itandje's crossbar from one of several corners.
Eleven minutes in, Itandje did brilliantly to deny Germany's nominal striker on the night, Mario Götze. Thomas Müller played Götze clean through with an instinctive, volleyed pass over his own shoulder, and his Bayern Munich teammate shot low from just outside the box. Itandje got down quickly to palm the ball against the post.
Löw said after the game that capitalizing on these early opportunities could have changed the course of the match: "We need this efficiency in time for the tournament [in Brazil]," he told ARD.
The remainder of the first half was quite a combative affair, marked by several crunching tackles on Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos, Löw's defensive midfield pairing for the night. Midfielders Eyong Enoh and Alexandre Song both picked up cards for Cameroon, with Jerome Boateng also earning a yellow late in the half as he sought to give a little back.
Perhaps Volker Finke, Cameroon's German coach best known domestically for his 16-year stint at the helm of SC Freiburg, may have calmed his players a little at the break: the second period was a much more "friendly" affair.
Eto'o opens floodgates
Germany started the second period with a similar verve to the first, but Reus could not finish a sharp Müller cut-back shortly after the restart.
Dortmund goalie Roman Weidenfeller, playing just his second Germany game despite his spot as first-reserve on the plane to Brazil, almost stopped Cameroon's opening goal after 62 minutes. Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting - currently at Mainz but perhaps leaving in the off-season - kept the ball alive after a splendid Weidenfeller save denying Eto'o. The 33-year-old was on hand to poke home Choupo-Moting's cross at the second attempt, beating captain Mertesacker to the cross.
Germany's Bayern Munich contingent on the rigth flank responded almost immediately. Jerome Boateng crossed to the near post, picking out Thomas Müller, who headed home his 17th goal for Germany. South Aftrica's Golden Shoe winner four years ago, Müller had a bright game for Germany despite a couple of later misses.
A whiff of offside, then a touch of magic
A pair of substitutes combined for Germany's second, as Löw began to rotate his side in the latter stages of play. Lukas Podolski was released down the left flank - although replays showed the Arsenal man should have been called back for offside - and he broke for the byline. Podolski's low cross picked out another Premiership star, Andre Schürrle of Chelsea, who could scarcely miss from the six-yard box.
The Bundesliga's Choupo-Moting had other ideas, though. Latching onto an Enoh pass, Choupo-Moting cut inside right-back Boateng before finishing in style with his left.
The best chance to restore a home lead fell seconds later to Müller - who sought to lob a bouncing ball over Itandje, only to send it over the bar. In stoppage time, Enoh found the roof of Weidenfeller's net with a left-footed distance shot that didn't quite dip under the bar.
Germany's next, and final, pre-World Cup friendly is against Armenia on Friday, June 6 in Mainz.