Scotland and Germany remain locked at the summit of UEFA EURO 2004™ Group 5 following a hard-fought draw at Hampden Park.
One match less
The home side responded well after falling behind to Fredi Bobic's 22rd-minute opener, with Kenny Miller equalising 22 minutes from time. Both sides now have eight points, although Germany have played only four matches to Scotland's five.
Germany coach Rudi Völler deployed 1. FC Kaiserslautern's Miroslav Klose and a revitalised Fredi Bobic in attack, while Scotland manager Berti Vogts opted for Steven Crawford and Miller to lead the line. There was an added incentive for Vogts, who was looking to gain the upper hand on his countrymen, having been Germany coach for eight years between 1990 and 1998.
The home side started the match brightly, with Paul Lambert taking charge of midfield and Paul Devlin and Colin Cameron impressive down the flanks. However, despite having much of the early possession, Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn was seldom called into action and chances were at a premium.
Indeed, the first real opportunity came after 19 minutes, when Michael Ballack, FC Bayern München's inspirational midfield player, sent a speculative 25-metre effort just over Robert Douglas's crossbar. The visitors appeared to have settled after Scotland's early pressure and took the lead four minutes later when Bobic connected with Torsten Frings' curling cross to send a downward header beyond Douglas.
Crawford then wasted a chance to equalise, dragging his shot wide of Kahn's goal after controlling Gary Naysmith's corner when unmarked at the far post. Bernd Schneider, who plays his club football with Bayer 04 Leverkusen, had the final chance of the half when he broke free and fired a thunderous strike goalwards, only to see Douglas palm the ball behind for a corner.
Miller on target
Scotland began the second period as they did the first, pressurising the visitors' goal from the whistle. With 49 minutes on the clock, Cameron swung and missed from ten metres after Kahn had repelled Crawford's vicious volley, before Miller struck the equaliser. Cameron fed his Wolverhampton Wanderers FC team-mate with a quick free-kick and Miller burst between two defenders before crashing the ball low into the far corner, beyond a helpless Kahn.
Wörns goes close
"It was a big goal in a big game and it was a reward for our play," said Miller. "I thought we thoroughly deserved it." The goal breathed new life into the Hampden Park faithful but despite the best efforts of the supporters, it was Germany who had the better of the late opportunities, with Bobic and defender Christian Wörns going close.
'A lot of passion'
Vogts said: "The team played with a lot of passion and it was a great performance. We had to work very hard against one of the strongest teams in the world and confidence is very high in the dressing room."
'Scotland did really well'
"Clearly it is two points lost and we need to recover them on Wednesday [against the Faroe Islands]," said Germany coach Völler. "I think Scotland did really well. They applied pressure to our midfield and applied pressure to unsettle Ballack. The way we played after taking the lead was far too hectic. I think a German victory would not have been fair."