Germany lose to Austria in Neuer comeback
Vienna: Germany captain Manuel Neuer made first team comeback since September but the World Champions could not avoid defeat against neighbors Austria in a friendly in Klagenfurt’s Wörthersee Stadion delayed for several minutes due to heavy rainfall.
Neuer who missed most of the German Bundes Liga season with a broken foot, returned just 15 days before his country’s World Cup defence begins against Mexico.
The Bayern Munich captain is struggling to regain the fitness to be included in the final squad where Barcelona’s Andre Ter Stegan and Paris St Germaine’s Kevin Trapp are also in contention.
After three pitch inspections, the Czech referee Pavel Kralovec whistled for the game an hour and three quarters late on a soaked pitch.
It was Austria who adapted well to the conditions against a Germany side who lacked their fluidity and depth in the attacking.
However Arsenal’s play maker Mesut Ozil seized on a goalkeeping error to give Germany the lead in the 11th minute.
But Martin Hinteregger equalised with a superb angled volley before Alessandro Schopf found the winner that ended Austria’s 32 year wait for a victory over their mighty neighbours.
The victory also maintined Franco Foda’s 100% record since becoming their coach last November.
For long periods in the second half, Germany who rested players like Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels and Toni Kroos didn’t play like a side preparing to defend their world crown.
Germany coach Joachim Low said: “I am not upset about the loss, not upset about losing the game, I am upset about the way we lost it.
“It was our own fault, because after taking the lead we controlled the game, but right before the break and the first 15 to 20 minutes after the break we weren’t in the game at all. We lost the ball unbelievably often, there were so many turnovers.
“We are not used to that from our team. We let the Austrians get back in the game.”
Despite conceding twice, Neuer’s performance which was the talk of the day even before the match was one of the few positives for Germany.
The last World Cup’s best goal keeper’s biggest test in the first half was a smart save low to his right from Florian Grillitsch, who was played in by Bayern wing back David Alaba, and almost slipped his shot inside the near post before Neuer made an intervention.
Four times world Champions who are drawn in a tough group including Sweeden, Mexico and South Korea have not won a game since October, drawing with England, France and Spain and losing to Brazil and now Austria since beating Azerbaijan.
Concern for Germany?
The World Cup holders saw their winless run extended by a 2-1 defeat to Austria on Saturday.
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) June 3, 2018
Germany will start their campaign against Mexico on July 17 after playing their final warm up match against Saudi Arabia on Friday.