THE DOG and Duck would have posed more of a threat than some of Hannover 96’s pre-season opponents.
In five previous friendlies, the Bundesliga outfit had notched 59 times in the goals-for column, including 22-1 and 21-0 victories against a pair of local minnows.
Sunderland have deliberately avoided such one-sided work-outs, instead choosing opponents who would battle regardless of their league standing.
Facing a side who finished fourth in the Bundesliga last season and are well ahead of the Black Cats in their preparations arguably came a touch too early in Sunderland’s pre-season programme and held all the warning signs of a first friendly defeat.
So it proved, despite a spirited second half comeback from Steve Bruce’s men.
Yet there was an ironic twist that the biggest positive of the 3-1 defeat should be an unjust decision which proved to be the game’s turning point.
Read Chris Young’s full match report in today’s SportMail.