Only hours after being dismissed as second-rate, the Socceroos pulled off one of their most stirring performances in humbling powerhouse Germany 2-1 in their own backyard.
Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness mocked the Australian team pre-match, saying the friendly was a waste of time and that “a match between Bayern’s A and B teams is more intense” than the Borussia Park fixture.
Hoeness and the German camp may now see the Socceroos in a different light after being served up a large slice of humble pie in Monchengladbach.
David Carney and Luke Wilkshire scored two goals in three minutes in the second half as the Socceroos collected a historic victory in front of a crowd of 30,000-plus.
Sure this was not a full-strength German national team but it was a quality lineup and included big names such as Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lukas Podolski and Thomas Muller.
And the taste of victory remained awfully sweet for the Australian players following the 4-0 shellacking they received from the Germans at last year’s World Cup in South Africa.
Socceroos captain Lucas Neill hailed his team’s character for producing another monumental result at the home of a European giant, having defeated the Netherlands in Eindhoven in 2008 and England in London in 2003.
“It is a fantastic night for the team, for the country,” he said.
“It is great for the future of the game if we can keep knocking off big teams and keep surprising ourselves in the world with big performances.”
Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, whose parents are both German, felt the locals paid the price for not showing the visiting side enough respect.
“Often it is the case in Germany where they get ahead of themselves and get a bit over-confident and I think you saw today maybe they did take it a little bit too much for granted,” he said.
“But for us a friendly is not a friendly game, we always want to win, no matter who it is.
“For us this is a major scalp and for Germany it is a big let down.
“I am sure they are going to cop a lot of grief for it.”
Socceroos coach Holger Osieck had been in a jovial enough mood before the match and found it even harder to wipe the smile off his face after putting one over his homeland.
“I’m really proud of the boys, they did a great job and the only thing I said to them after the game was thank you very much from the bottom of my heart,” said Osieck.
Not that he felt such goodwill at halftime. The former World Cup winning assistant provided the world No.21 team with some strong words at the break.
He ordered his players to stop giving the ball away so easily and to start stringing passes together.
It had not looked good for the visitors after Bayern Munich goal machine Mario Gomez opened the scoring in the 26th minute by sweeping the ball from the edge of the area into the top left corner.
In truth, the Germans had the better of the contest until Carney and Matt McKay unlocked the German defence in the 61st minute and the defender slipped the ball under German goalkeeper Tim Wiese.
A minute later Harry Kewell went to ground following a clumsy challenge from Christian Trasch and with Luke Wilkshire calmly slotting the penalty, suddenly Australia were in the lead.
Despite a number of close shaves in the dying stages, Australia’s defence repelled wave after wave of German attacks and survived an 89th minute appeal for a penalty.
Neill admitted to holding his breath after veteran striker Miroslav Klose went to ground under pressure from him.
However referee Stephane Lannoy brandished Klose with a yellow card for diving, to the anger of the home fans.