A late Yusuf Sari penalty took Turkey to a 3-2 win over Germany in Berlin on Saturday, giving home manager Julian Nagelsmann plenty to ponder seven months from hosting Euro 2024.
Lightning-fast in attack, dogged in defence and buoyed by deafening support from the crowd in an ‘away’ friendly, Turkey posed constant questions for Germany.
Kai Havertz gave Germany the lead after just five minutes but Turkey headed to half-time in front, after two late goals from Ferdi Kadioglu and Kenan Yildiz.
Borussia Dortmund striker Niclas Fuellkrug equalised shortly after halftime but Turkey would have the final say, Sari slamming in a penalty to secure victory.
Germany had not lost to Turkey for more than 18 years – and not on home soil since 1951.
Turkish coach Vincenzo Montella celebrated his side’s “first win against Germany in Germany for 72 years”, saying “we felt it, the victory was rich in emotions.”
“It’s important for the Turkish people, also those who live here.”
Nagelsmann criticised his players, saying “a couple did not hit the necessary emotional level and did not play at their limits.”
Ilkay Gundogan, the first Turkish-German to captain Germany, told RTL “we were too lethargic, too passive, not purposeful enough and didn’t move well in possession. We didn’t generate the pressure against the ball that we wanted,” he added.
Montella’s predictions of a “home” atmosphere were spot on, with the vast majority of the 72,592 fans at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium drenched in red.
Around three million people of Turkish origin live in Germany, many in the capital.
The announcement of hosts’ starting XI was greeted with boos, as was every touch by anyone in black and white in the opening minutes.
Handed a start in the unfamiliar position of left-back, Arsenal forward Havertz repaid his coach’s faith almost immediately, tapping in a Leroy Sane pass after just five minutes.
Havertz’s goal failed to silence the Turkish fans, who were rewarded with a two-goal burst late in the first-half.
Abdulkerim Bardakci found Kadioglu with an expert long pass, the Fenerbahce midfielder hammering a brutal shot past a helpless Kevin Trapp.
Turkey’s second was a carbon copy of the original, with a cross finding Germany-born Yildiz, whose powerful shot bounced off the crossbar and the post before landing in the net.
With Turkey on top, half-time came at the perfect moment for shellshocked Germany, who composed themselves to score immediately after the break.
Florian Wirtz carved through the middle and found Fuellkrug, the Borussia Dortmund striker taking a touch before hammering in a low shot.
Fuellkrug, who made his international debut at the age of 29 after spending much of his career outside the first division, now has 10 goals in his 12 Germany appearances.
With 20 minutes remaining, VAR found a Havertz handball in the box. Sari stepped up to the spot and converted, sending the stadium into raptures.
The result, in Nagelsmann’s first match on home soil and third overall game, shows Germany remain in transition just seven months away from hosting Euro 2024.
Germany have won just three of ten matches since their group stage exit at the Qatar World Cup in 2022.