Boateng makes comeback in win over Saudi Arabia
Jérôme Boateng made his comeback from injury as the German national side registered a narrow win in their final warm-up game before the World Cup. In front of a crowd of 30,210 in Leverkusen, 'Die Mannschaft' beat fellow World Cup participants Saudi Arabia 2-1 on Friday evening. Boateng played the first half following a six-week injury lay-off, while Manuel Neuer also got another 45 minutes under his belt.
"I'm doing well. Everything's alright," said Neuer, who had played for the first time in eight months against Austria six days ago. The Bayern captain was not happy with the outcome of the match, though. "We started well but then we gave the ball away too much. I felt that we wanted to score a goal from every situation. We were lacking a bit of coolness and cleverness. You don't always have to try to score straight away."
Coach Joachim Löw was above all pleased with the first half. "Then we dropped off," he said. "We squandered a lot of chances tonight and gave away a lot of chances." However, with the World Cup just around the corner, Löw stressed that he's not concerned. "I know we'll improve. When the tournament kicks off, we'll be ready." Germany begin their title defence on 17 June against Mexico.
The hosts dominated for large parts of the game against the 67th-ranked Saudis and created numerous chances. Timo Werner opened the scoring in the eighth minute, finishing off a wonderful move that started with a long forward ball from Joshua Kimmich. Marco Reus and Sami Khedira both hit the post, before Omar Hawsawi turned Thomas Müller's shot into his own net to give Germany a deserved 2-0 lead.
However, a third goal eluded the Germans and Saudi Arabia reduced the deficit in the 84th minute. Marc-André ter Stegen saved Mohammad Al-Sahlawi's penalty but Taiseer Al-Jassam tucked away the rebound, and the visitors could have even equalised in injury time.
Neuer (ter Stegen 46') -- Kimmich (Ginter 81'), Boateng (Süle 46'), Hummels, Hector -- Khedira, Kroos -- Müller (Brandt 74'), Reus (Gündogan 57'), Draxler -- Werner (Gomez 62')