World Cup holders Germany are not enjoying the best preparations for the defence of their trophy after their winless run was extended by defeat in Austria on Saturday evening.
Joachim Low’s team have not won a game since October, drawing with England, France and Spain and losing to Brazil and now Austria since beating Azerbaijan.
Germany led early on through Mesut Ozil’s strike but second-half goals from Martin Hinteregger and Alessandro Schopf turned the match on its head and gave Austria, who will not be at the World Cup in Russia this month, a seventh successive victory.
The game at the Worthersee Stadion in Klagenfurt, which was delayed by 100 minutes because of heavy rain, was the first of two friendlies for defending world champions Germany, who will also face Saudi Arabia at the BayArena before beginning the defence of their title against Mexico with their Group F opener on June 17 in Moscow.
It was a chance for the fringe players in Low’s 27-man squad to earn their spot in the final 23 and Freiburg striker Nils Petersen was handed his debut. Meanwhile Manuel Neuer made his first start since September 2017 after recovering from a broken foot.
Despite concerns over injury, the pitch was not a factor. It looked like the match could be called off following torrential rain but the bulk of the water drained away.
Germany had no trouble adapting to the conditions and went ahead after 11 minutes. A mistake by goalkeeper Jorg Siebenhandl saw him kick the ball straight to Ozil, who returned it into the net with a delicate finish at the far post.
Ozil should have quickly made it two but shot straight at Siebenhand before Julian Brandt burst into the penalty area and poked an effort narrowly wide.
Austria started to find their feet around the half hour mark and some patient build up play created a chance for Peter Zulj but he shot straight at Neuer, who shortly afterwards made a superb save to push away a strike from Florian Grillitsch after he had tried to catch out the goalkeeper at his near post.
Germany survived until half-time but Austria kept up the pressure at the start of the second half and deservedly drew level after 53 minutes. Hinteregger sprinted to meet a cross at the far post and sent a volley back across goal and into the net. It was superb technique from the central defender.
Zulj saw another effort roll inches past the post before Schopf beat Neuer for the second time after 69 minutes, converting a cut-back from Stefan Lainer from close range.
Germany toiled to create anything of note in reply and while their starting XI against Mexico will look a lot different to the team on Saturday, their inability to pose much of an attacking threat will be a worry to Low.
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