Germany lose on Neuer’s comeback

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In spite of an impressive display, Manuel Neuer had to accept defeat in his long-awaited comeback for Germany. The reigning World Cup holders lost 2-1 to Austria in a friendly played in Klagenfurt. Mesut Özil (11’) gave Germany the lead but the hosts turned the game round after the break with strikes from Martin Hinteregger (53’), with an assist from David Alaba, and the former Munich player Alessandro Schöpf (69’).

“It was a good comeback after such a long time,” said Germany coach Joachim Löw after the game. “Manuel held on to two or three shots and made some other good saves. That was absolutely in order.”. However, Löw was not pleased with the overall performance of his team: “I’m not happy with the defeat because we didn’t do a lot that we intended to.”

In addition to Neuer, FC Bayern’s Joshua Kimmich and Niklas Süle were in the starting line-up, Sebastian Rudy came on in the second half. Mats Hummels, Thomas Müller (both rested) and Jérôme Boateng (rehab training) did not travel to Klagenfurt. Alaba went the full distance for Austria.

Neuer saves, Alaba turns it on

Due to a storm the match kicked off at 19:43 CEST rather than at 18.00 with the possibility of abandoning the game briefly being discussed. Germany were first out of the blocks with Özil opening the scoring for the visitors on 11 minutes when he exploited a mistake by the Austria keeper Jörg Siebenhandl. Leverkusen’s Julian Brandt (20/39) could have doubled the lead (including build-up play from Kimmich). Neuer prevented Austria levelling just after the half-hour mark with an impressive save to deny Florian Grillitsch.

Austria created problems for the World Cup winners in the second half. First, Alaba (51) put a shot over the bar but shortly after that the Bayern pro stood out as the left back provided the assist with a corner that Hinteregger volleyed into the back of the net on 53 minutes – Neuer was helpless. Two minutes later, he showed his quality after Alaba set up Marko Arnautovic with a great ball. The FC Bayern number one was again left stranded with the second Austria goal scored on 69 minutes by the former FCB player Alessandro Schöpf. Germany were unable to respond after that. The most important news on the night: Manuel Neuer appears to be ready for Russia.

Germany line-up against Austria: 
Neuer - Kimmich, Rüdiger, Süle, Hector – Khedira (Rudy 46), Gündogan (Goretzka 56) – Brandt (Werner 67), Özil (Draxler 76), Sané (Reus 67) – Petersen (Gomez 76)

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