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Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer showed no signs of any rust on the gears in Klagenfurt. - © © imago
Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer showed no signs of any rust on the gears in Klagenfurt. - © © imago

Germany lose Austria friendly but goalkeeper Manuel Neuer shines on return


Manuel Neuer did not put a foot wrong on his return following almost nine months out injured, but was powerless to prevent Germany losing 2-1 to Austria in their last match before Joachim Löw names his final squad for the FIFA 2018 World Cup.

Austria 2-1 Germany

Goals: 0-1 Özil (11'), 1-1 Hinteregger (54'), 2-1 Schöpf (69')

Torrential rain threatened to put the skids on Neuer’s long-awaited comeback, but after a 104-minute delay the game was allowed to go ahead. Germany struck early through Mesut Özil, the Arsenal midfielder capitalising on a mistake at the back between Martin Hinteregger and Austria goalkeeper Jörg Siebenhändl. Özil and Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Julian Brandt spurned chances to double the world champions’ lead, but it was a trademark piece of Neuer heroics - the Bayern Munich No.1 diving low to his right to deny Hoffenheim’s Florian Grillitsch a certain equaliser - that was the real talking point of a keenly contested first half.

Bayern's David Alaba fired narrowly over shortly after the restart, but when his corner dropped for Hinteregger minutes later, the Augsburg defender made no mistake, sending an unstoppable close-range volley into the back of the net. Neuer pulled off two fine saves, first from Marko Arnautovic and then from Grillitsch, before being beaten for the second time - by Schalke midfielder Alessandro Schöpf. Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus made his first Germany appearance in over two years, but could not change the course of the game, leaving Löw with plenty of food for thought as he prepares to submit his final selection to FIFA by 4 June.

Match stats

    Germany lost to Austria for the first time since 1986,Neuer only managed 360 minutes of competitive football in 2017/18. The 32-year-old last played for Germany in the World Cup qualifying win against Northern Ireland on 11 October 2016.Reus made his first appearance in a Germany shirt since March 2016.Freiburg's Nils Petersen made his senior international debut for Germany.Austria's starting line-up included six Bundesliga players, as well as a further four on the bench.Germany play Saudi Arabia in a friendly on 8 June, before beginning their World Cup defence against Mexico on 17 June.


Austria: Siebenhändl - Lainer, Dragovic, Hinteregger, Alaba - Baumgartliner (c), Prödl - Schöpf (Bauer 76'), Zulj (Kainz 87'), Grillitsch (Ilsanker 76') - Arnautovic (Burgstaller 83')
Unused subs: Linder, Stankovic, Strebinger, Danso, Potzmann, Ulmer, Wimmer, Hierländer, Murg, Schaub, Schlager, Alar
Absentees: None
Coach: Franco Foda

Germany: Neuer (c) - Kimmich, Süle, Rüdiger, Hector - Khedira (Rudy 46'), Gündogan (Goretzka 56') - Brandt (Werner 67'), Özil (Draxler 76'), Sane (Reus 67') - Petersen (Gomez 76')
Unused subs: Leno, ter Stegen, Trap, Ginter, Plattenhardt, Tah
Absentees: Boateng (hamstring), Hummels, Müller (both rested)
Coach: Joachim Löw

As it happened!

Click here for more on Germany's provisional World Cup squad and title defence!