Munich - In the first of two friendlies on a summer tour of the United States of America, Lukas Podolski netted Germany's fastest-ever goal to set the Nationalmannschaft on course for a comprehensive 4-2 victory over Ecuador.
The Arsenal striker, making his 109th international appearance, broke the deadlock within nine seconds of kick-off before Lars Bender bagged a brace either side of Podolski's second as Germany engineered themselves a four-goal lead inside the opening 24 minutes. Antonio Valencia and Walter Ayovi reduced the arrears for Ecuador, but Germany ultimately held their ground against a barrage of chances thanks in large part to Rene Adler's heroics.
Several spectators at the FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Florida, were yet to take their seats when Podolski benefitted from a defensive mix-up to fire past a helpless Maximo Banguera. Joachim Löw's men ruthlessly pressed their South American opponents as their pace and power proved too great, resulting in Bender poking in Sidney Sam's weighted through ball just three minutes later.
Germany continued to exploit Ecuador's weaknesses, as Marcell Jansen and Max Kruse combined on the left flank, with the latter squaring for Podolski to score his 46th international goal and second of the afternoon. Head coach Löw's much-changed squad were handling the challenge with aplomb and shortly after debutant Sam fired just wide from distance, Bender stretched Germany's lead even further, squeezing his long-range effort under Banguera.
A fourth setback soon sprung Ecuador out of hibernation, as they began imposing themselves on the encounter. Cristian Benitez fired off the first warning when his fierce strike cannoned off the crossbar, while Felipe Caicedo failed to get the better of Adler after flitting past Heiko Westermann inside the area. However, their efforts soon bore fruit as Antonio Valencia latched onto a half-hearted clearance to volley home on the stroke of half-time.
Ecuador tried to maintain the pressure after the restart and commanded the early stages of the second-half. Montero in particular was causing Germany's backline plenty of problems as Adler produced a string of saves to deny the South Americans, ranked tenth in the world, a second goal. The Nationalmannschaft were on the back foot and struggling to break Ecaudor's control on proceedings, as Julian Draxler blazed an effort over the bar having beaten two defenders for pace.
Clear-cut chances remained at a premium for Germany as the encounter was regularly interupted by both sides making several substitutions. However, Ecuador continued to look the more threatening outfit and would have reduced the arrears further were it not for Adler, one of Germany's standout performers, tipping Renato Ibarra's stinging drive over the bar.
Ecuador threw bodies forward in search of a second goal and, with Germany struggling to get to grips with their opponents in the closing stages, were justly rewarded with six minutes left when Ayovi's direct free-kick snuck through the wall, beating an unsighted Adler at his near post. In the end though, Germany stood firm to make it four wins in four since the turn of the year, a feat last achieved in 1980.
Germany: Adler - Höwedes, Mertesacker, Westermann, Jansen - Lars Bender (Wollscheid 90'), Neustädter (Reinartz 66') - Sam (Schürrle 69'), Draxler (Hunt 56'), Podolski (N. Müller 88') - Kruse (Aogo 79')
Ecuador: Banguera - Paredes, Eraze, Achiller (Guagua 67'), Ayovi - Valencia, Castillo (Saritama 70'), Caicedo (Bone 36'), Noboa (Quinonez 60') - Montero (de Jesus 81') - Benitez (Rojas 60')
Goals: 1-0 Podolski (1'), 2-0 L. Bender (4'), 3-0 Podolski (16'), L. Bender (24'), 4-1 Valencia (44'), 4-2 Ayovi (84')