Scoring machines grow old, no matter how much tender loving care from physicians and nutritionists and masseuses they receive. So Miroslav Klose, the most prolific scorer ever for the German national team at age 36, did not play in the World Cup opener and did not start in the next game against Ghana.
When Germany drifted behind in the second half, coach Joachim Lowe, who bases his lineup selection on current performance rather than privilege, called on Klose. Within a minute, the only pure striker on the roster saved the Germans' hide with the goal that procured a 2-2 tie.
Much to the dismay of Deutschland -- as well as the U.S. camp, which preferred a German win to boost their team's odds of advancing -- the middle-game syndrome at the Cup struck again. Germany's last loss at the tournament was 21 games ago, but in the second cycle of group matches, it is 1-1-4 in the last six.
A sleepy, though competitive, first half gave way to the most breathtaking period of this Cup, with four goals rung up in a 20-minute span and numerous other chances just missing.
The flurry was ignited by Mario Gotke, 22, who represents the new wave of German scorers just as Klose does the old guard. He bisected defenders in the box and banged in a pass during the 51st minute from Thomas Mueller, who was mostly on the receiving end in Germany's win over Portugal with a hat trick.
Ghana drew even and then surged ahead on picturesque goals by Andre Ayew (54th minute) and Asamoah Gyan (63rd). A sloppy giveaway by Germany's Philipp Lamm set up Gyan, who cleverly deked a defender prior to his shot.
Soon after, Klose came on. Almost immediately, a corner kick grazed the head of Benedikt Howedes and landed at the outstretched shoe of Klose, who nudged it in.
The goal was Klose's 15th over a stretch of four World Cups, which hoisted him alongside career leader Ronaldo.