Chelsea striker Timo Werner missed a golden chance as Germany fell to a humiliating 2-1 home loss to North Macedonia their first World Cup qualifying defeat in 20 years and piling the pressure on coach Joachim Loew.
Napoli midfielder Eljif Elmas scored the winner five minutes from time, after Ilkay Gundogan’s penalty had drawn Germany level following 37-year-old striker Goran Pandev’s first-half opener.
Werner had a golden chance with the score at 1-1 after coming off the bench in the second half.
“I’m sorry for him (Werner),” admitted Gundogan.
The four-time world champions have never failed to qualify for football’s biggest tournament, but did not enter the inaugural edition in 1930 and were banned in 1950.
However, Loew’s men are already languishing third in the Group J table, three points adrift of leaders Armenia and behind the Macedonians on goal difference.
This was Germany’s first World Cup qualifying loss since the infamous 5-1 thrashing by England in 2001. The defeat was just the latest setback suffered by Germany, after their embarrassing 6-0 drubbing by Spain last November and the shock group-stage exit at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The loss, which ended an 18-match winning streak in World Cup qualifying, will pile more pressure on Loew, who will step down after Euro 2020 in July after 15 years in charge.
Germany will not be in action again until Euro 2020 warm-up matches in June, ahead of a tricky group-stage campaign at the tournament, with games against holders Portugal, reigning world champions France and Hungary.
(With inputs from Agencies)