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2-2 draw with Australia

Germans held, Badstuber’s comeback

Germany’s first international fixture of 2015 ended in a draw as the World Cup winners were held 2-2 by Asian champions Australia in Kaiserslautern on Wednesday night. Marco Reus opened for the hosts on 17 minutes but James Troisi (40) and Mile Jedinak (50) turned the game on its head. Lukas Podolski fired the 81st-minute equaliser shortly after coming on as a sub.

Holger Badstuber made his comeback in the national team after a two and a half year absence, with fellow FCB man Mario Götze also starting the contest. Manuel Neuer missed out with a swollen knee, while Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Müller and Jérôme Boateng were rested.

Coach Joachim Löw sent out his team in an unfamiliar 3-5-2 formation and the first chance fell to Badstuber from a fifth-minute corner. But the Asian champions were no pushover and Leckie and Burns both came close in the opening quarter of an hour. However, the hosts showed a ruthless streak in front of goal and Reus opened the scoring, only for Troisi to level for the lively Socceroos five minutes before the break.

Podolski’s equaliser

Badstuber had taken a knock and failed to reappear after half-tome, and the world champions’ gloom deepened when Jedinak netted a direct free-kick to hand the visitors a 50th-minute lead. Götze twice came close to levelling, but it was ex-FCB star Podolski who saved Germany’s blushes with an 81st-minute finish.

“We didn’t manage to do what we set out to do,” Löw said afterwards, bemoaning his team’s “lack of precision. We had no structure in the second half.” The Germans will have their big guns back on Sunday when they travel to Georgia for a crucial EURO 2016 qualifier.

Germany team against Australia:  Zieler - Mustafi, Höwedes, Badstuber (Rudy 46), Hector – Khedira (Kramer 63), Gündogan – Bellarabi (Schürrle 64), Özil, Reus (Podolski 73) – Götze (Kruse 73)