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Müller on target

‘Warning shot’ as Germans held by Paraguay

In their final warm-up prior to a World Cup qualifying double-header in September, Germany opened the new international season with a draw on Wednesday night. A 47,500 sell-out crowd at Fritz Walter Stadium in Kaiserslautern saw Joachim Löw's men held 3-3 by Paraguay, the South Americans racing into an early two-goal lead before Ilkay Gündogan and Thomas Müller equalised. Former Bayern man Roque Santa Cruz provided the assist as the visitors moved 3-2 ahead on the stroke of half-time, but the Germans upped their game in the second half and Leverkusen’s Lars Bender levelled with a quarter of an hour remaining.

“We can't be playing like that against Austria," admonished Manuel Neuer afterwards. The keeper, Philipp Lahm and Müller all started the game. “That was a warning shot. It's important we learn from this match," Neuer continued. Löw's side generally looked comfortable going forward, but the defending left a lot to be desired on the night.

Five-goal first half

Nunez opened for Santa Cruz and company after nine minutes, Pittoni silencing the crowd and doubling the score four minutes later. The home side roused themselves and Gündogan pulled one back after 18 minutes, before Müller moved onto 14 goals for his country with a 31st-minute equaliser. However, the South Americans had the last word of the first half when Samudio converted a Santa Cruz lay-off to restore the lead in stoppage time at the end of the first period.

“Paraguay didn't do badly at all, but the goals came from our mistakes," commented Müller afterwards, “that was made very clear at half-time." Löw's team were a different proposition after the break, with Jerome Boateng adding solidity to the defence in the second half.

Lahm poised for 100th cap

After the break, Mezut Ozil and substitute Mario Gomez failed to put away good chances, but Bender finally levelled the scores with a powerful shot after 75 minutes. The defending was considerably improved, but Lahm, who is set to win his 100th senior cap when the Germans host Austria in a World Cup qualifier at the Allianz Arena on 6 September, was still full of caution: “We have to improve."