BERLIN (Reuters) – Brazil edged past world champions Germany 1-0 in their international friendly on Tuesday to snap their opponents’ 22-match unbeaten run and exact some measure of revenge for their 2014 World Cup semi-final humiliation.
Gabriel Jesus headed in the winner in the 37th minute as Brazil, beaten just once under coach Tite and missing injured talisman Neymar, beat a second-string German team to restore some pride after their 7-1 loss to the Europeans four years ago.
The Germans were hoping to match their record of 23 games without defeat but they lacked spark and precision, with several key players injured or rested, including Manuel Neuer, Mesut Ozil and Thomas Mueller.
Germany coach Joachim Loew made seven changes to the team that drew 1-1 against Spain on Friday as they prepare for a World Cup title defence in Russia in June.
“I expected Brazil would play with their best team and with their soul a bit injured they would be fully motivated,” Loew told reporters. “It was not our day today. We made changes to the lineup and you could see it affected the team.
“We made some easy mistakes. There were some young players on the pitch and we were not really that fine-tuned as a team.
“But that is why you have such games, to try things out.”
In an evenly-balanced first half and with the “open wound” of their shock World Cup loss to Germany still painful according to Tite, the visitors were in no mood to take any early risks.
Disciplined and hard-working at the back, they kept German pressure under control. Brazil grabbed an unexpected lead when keeper Kevin Trapp, replacing the rested Marc-Andre ter Stegen failed to hold on to Jesus’s point-blank header, with the ball slipping through after his reflex save.
“The team deserves a lot of credit,” said Brazil defender Thiago Silva. “I think we are on the right track, with humility, and discipline and we showed it today against this team.
“It makes us proud. We are delighted with the positive result against a great team.”
The Germans tried to get an equaliser before the break with Mario Gomez, vying for a spot in the World Cup squad, coming close twice.
But it was the Brazilians who were more aggressive in the second half, threatening through Paulinho and Philippe Coutinho.
Loew, who will announce his preliminary World Cup squad on May 15, brought on Sandro Wagner for Gomez to add pressure. However, Brazil kept their cool to earn a much-needed confidence boost.
The five-times world champions kick off their World Cup campaign against Switzerland on June 17 before facing Costa Rica and Serbia.
The Germans, four-time champions, have been drawn in Group F of the tournament, along with Mexico, South Korea and Sweden.