Manuel Neuer passes fitness test but Germany slump to defeat in Austria | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 02.06.2018
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Manuel Neuer passes fitness test but Germany slump to defeat in Austria

An error-strewn display saw Germany fall to defeat against a David Alaba-inspired Austria. Germany were, however, boosted by an encouraging performance by Manuel Neuer, who played his first full game since September.

Austria 2-1 Germany
(Hinteregger 53', Schöpf 69' — Özil 11')

Wörthersee Stadion, Klagenfurt, Austria

Torrential rain in the southern Austrian city of Klagenfurt threatened to cancel this World Cup warm-up with Germany altogether. Joachim Löw may wish it had been after his side were beaten by Austria for the first time since 1986.

After three pitch inspections, the game finally got underway an hour and three quarters late on a sodden playing surface. It was Austria who adapted best to the conditions against a Germany side who lacked fluidity and, for long periods in the second half, didn't play like a side preparing to defend their world crown.

Löw tested a few peripheral players in his squad, including Freiburg striker Nils Petersen who was handed a debut. But Petersen struggled to impose himself as he failed to click with Leroy Sane, Mesut Özil and Julian Brandt.

Much of the focus leading into the game had been on the fitness of goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who was told by Löw that he would go to Russia as Germany's number one choice in goal — but only if he was 100 percent fit. The Bayern Munich keeper hadn't played a full 90 minutes since September.

And despite conceding twice, Neuer's performance was one of the few positives for Germany. The Bayern keeper's biggest test in the first half was a smart save low to his right from Florian Grillitsch, who was played in by David Alaba, and almost sneaked his shot inside the near post if not for Neuer's intervention.

Fußball Länderspiel Deutschland - Österreich (Imago/Nordphoto/Ewert)

Manuel Neuer (right) could do nothing to stop Alessandro Schöpf's goal from finding the back of the net.

Dull from the defending champs

Germany were a long way from their best but grabbed the lead in the 11th minute through Özil, who was gifted the ball from goalkeeper Jörg Siebenhandl and capitalized with an ice cool finish, guiding in his 23rd goal for Germany.

Austria showed signs of making a breakthrough as the first half wore on, but they saved their best for the second half. Alaba, who plays in a more advanced position for his country than at Bayern, started to take control of the game after the restart and his deep corner assisted the equalizer.

The cross had seemed to deep, but was met on the volley in stunning style by Martin Hinteregger. Neuer was helpless and Hinteregger reeled away in delight as Germany's defenders stood around wondering how they had conceded such an easy goal on a set piece.

Germany completely lost momentum in the second half with individual errors — not least from the off color Joshua Kimmich — punctuating their performance. Kimmich was guilty of three stray passes inside and in front of his own box in a puzzling performance by the usually consistent youngster.

Timo Werner and Marco Reus came off the bench midway through the second half as the disappointing Sané made way, but soon after Austria scored their second. Julian Baumgartlinger pinged a ball to Stefan Lainer, who cushioned it back to Schalke man Alessandro Schöpf to fire in first time.

Germany were disjointed and seemingly incapable of mustering a meaningful shot at Siebenhandl's goal as Austria ran down the clock to pull off a famous win. Germany went out with a damp squib, leaving Löw with more questions than answers just over two weeks ahead of the first game of their World Cup defense.

As it happened:

90+2' — Fulltime

90+1' — Two minutes added on.

88' Austria substitution — Florian Kainz replaces Peter Zulj, a straight substitution from Franco Foda.

87' — Peter Zulj collects the ball after Niklas Süle fails to collect it. Zulj tries to pick out Guido Burgstaller in the six-yard box, but Sebastian Rudy slides in to intercept and clear the ball away.

85' — Timo Werner breaks free on the right. He crosses the ball for Mario Gomez, whose shot is blocked out for a corner. Gomez also gets a foot on the ensuing corner from Marco Reus, but Sebastian Prödl clears the ball away, though Gomez appeals for a hand ball.

84' Austria substitution — Guido Burgstaller replaces Marko Arnautovic, a straight substitution from Franco Foda.

80' — Marco Reus his a free kick from the right short. Timo Werner heads it towards goal, but Jörg Siebenhandl makes the save.

79' Austria substitution — Stefan Ilsanker replaces Florian Grillitsch, a defensive substitution from Franco Foda.

76' Germany substitutions — Julian Draxler and Mario Gomez replace Mesut Özil and Nils Petersen, straight substitutions from Joachim Löw. 

76' Austria substitution — Moritz Bauer replaces Alessandro Schöpf, a defensive substitution from Franco Foda.

69' GOAL — Alessandro Schöpf puts Austria in the lead. Julian Baumgartlinger plays the ball to Stefan Lainer on the right side of the penalty area. Lainer hits the ball back to Schöpf, who nails a one-time effort into the back of the net. Austria 2, Germany 1

68' — Marco Reus makes his first appearance for Germany in 795 days. 

67' Germany substitutions — Marco Reus and Timo Werner replace Julian Brandt and Leroy Sané.

64' — Sebastian Prödl fouls Leroy Sané as Sané tries to dribble across the top of the penalty area. Mesut Özil hits the free kick off of Peter Zulj in Austria's wall. 

61' — Joshua Kimmich gives another ball away to Florian Grillitsch, who feeds Alessandro Schöpf at the top of the penalty area. Schöpf tries to dribble around Antonio Rüdiger and Manuel Neuer. Neuer goes to ground, but Rüdiger stays with Schöpf on the right side of the penalty area. Schöpf lofts a ball across the box, Kimmich tries to chest it to Neuer before clearing it himself.

59' — Mesut Özil combines with Julian Brandt to try to break free on the right. His cross is blocked to Joshua Kimmich, who plays another cross off the face of goal. Jörg Siebenhandl comes off his line to prevent the ball from falling to Nils Petersen at the far post.

59' — Julian Baumgartlinger tackles a ball away from Julian Brandt on the right. Germany is not matching Austria's energy level at the moment.

57' — Florian Grillitsch receives the ball on the left side of the penalty area and tries to beat Manuel Neuer at the far post, but Neuer collects the ball before clearing it out of danger.

56' — Germany substution — Leon Goretzka replaces Ilkay Gündogan, a straight change from Joachim Löw. 

54' — David Alaba beats teammate Joshua Kimmich to a ball from midfield. Alaba turns back before playing a no-look throughball to Marko Arnautovic in the penalty area. Arnautovic takes aim and Manuel Neuer makes a reflex save to keep the score level.

53' EQUALIZER — Martin Hinteregger levels the score. David Alaba picks him out unmarked at the far post and he splits Jonas Hector and Manuel Neuer with a right footed shot. Austria 1, Germany 1

52' — David Alaba intercepts a pass from Sebastian Rudy. He creates space for himself before firing a curling effort just over the crossbar.

51' — Alessandro Schöpf skies a cross from the right wing that Joshua Kimmich heads back to Manuel Neuer.

49' — Florian Grillitsch picks out Julian Baumbartlinger in the penalty area, but Niklas Süle comes in to clear the ball away.

47' — Leroy Sané dribbles with a head of steam at Aleksandar Dragovic and picks out Julian Brandt. Brandt leaves it for Özil, who tries to find a shot before leaving it for Ilkay Gündogan. Gündogan plays a ball over the top that Brandt can't reach to end the chance.

46' — Sebastian Rudy takes Sami Khedira's position in midfield next to Ilkay Gündogan.

46' — Second half underway.

20:42 — Sebastian Rudy will replace Sami Khedira at halftime. He has missed out on the last two major tournaments before taking part in the 2017 Confederations Cup last summer.

45' — Halftime

45' — Joshua Kimmich plays a pass right to Alessandro Schöpf in Germany's penalty area. Schöpf puts in a cross for Marko Arnautovic, but Manuel Neuer comes off his line to make the save.

42' — Sebastian Prödl fouls Mesut Özil away from the ball in midfield. Özil is slow to get up but plays on.

41' — Alessandro Schöpf fouls Sami Khedira not far outside the penalty area for a free kick. Lero Sané fires a curling effort that doesn't dip enough.

39' — Jonas Hector plays a sharp cross to Julian Brandt from the left. Brandt fires the ball right at Jörg Siebenhandl, who lets the ball loose but collects it again before Hector can come up with a follow-up shot.

38' — Julian Brandt tries to float a ball towards Nils Petersen after combining with Jonas Hector on the left, but Martin Hinteregger clears the ball away from danger.

36' — Antonio Rüdiger fouls Alessandro Schöpf on the right wing while trying to tackle the ball away. David Alaba's ensuing free kick is Headed down by Nils Petersen but right to Stefan Lainer. Lainer tries to fire a quick shot, but Petersen blocks it away.

32' — David Alaba threads a ball to Florian Grillitsch on the left side of the penalty area. Grillitsch tries to beat Manuel Neuer at the near post, but the Germany captain gets down to make the save.

31' — Peter Zulj turns with the ball at the top of the box, only to find himself free in the penalty area. He takes aim at goal but his shot is saved by Manuel Neuer.

28' — Leroy Sané starts a break after winning the ball from Marko Arnautovic, but his final ball to Mesut Özil is intercepted by Sebastian Prödl.

25' — Leroy Sané tries to take Stefan Lainer one-on-one before putting in a cross, but the Austrian defense clears it out of danger.

23' — Peter Lainer puts in another dangerous cross with Marko Arnautovic making a run at the far post, but Niklas Süle clears it out of danger. Süle and Rüdiger, who paired together in Germany's last friendly against Brazil in March, are playing with a lot of poise, which can only mean good things for their chances to make the World Cup roster.

22' — Antonio Rüdiger heads a short cross from Stefan Lainer out for a corner. David Alaba delivers the corner from the right and Rüdiger clears it again.

20' — Almost another for Germany. Nils Petersen passes across to Julian Brandt in the box before Brandt unleashes an effort from the right side of the box, but Jörg Siebenhandl parries it away for the corner. Gündogan once again plays the corner short and Germany resets.

18' — David Alaba is played through on the left by Peter Zulj and puts in a cross, but it's blocked by Bayern teammate Niklas Süle and caught by Manuel Neuer.

17' — Mesut Özil has dropped deeper into midfield to help build up the play against a very active Austria side

16' — Marko Arnautovic goes at Antonio Rüdiger again, but this time leaves it for Alessandro Schöpf. Schöpf fires from the edge of the penalty area, but it is blocked by Sami Khedira before falling safely in the hand of Manuel Neuer.

14' — First test for Manuel Neuer. Alessandro Schöpf collects the ball on the right side of the penalty area and fires, but the German captain goes to ground to pick up an easy save.

13' — Stefan Lainer plays a ball to Alessandro Schöpf in the box, but Jonas Hector knocks it away. Lainer then puts in a cross that soars over the penalty area.

11' GOAL — Mesut Özil puts Germany ahead in Klagenfurt. Jörg Siebenhandl hits a pass directly to Mesut Özil and the midfielder curls an effort off of Siebenhandl into the back of the net. Austria 0, Germany 1

10' — First corner of the game as Ilkay Gündogan wins the ball back in midfield. Gündogan plays it short and the Germans reset the play.

7' — Ilkay Gündogan plays a ball over the top, but Aleksandar Dragovic does well to clear the ball away.

6' — Jonas Hector is playing high up the left wing, leaving Ilkay Gündogan to build up the play on the left side of midfield.

5' — Marko Arnautovic drives at Antonio Rüdiger after receiving the ball in midfield. Rüdiger does well to prevent a break forward and win back possession for Germany.

2' — Manuel Neuer involved in the play right away, helping build up the play on the back. His performance is perhaps the most crucial in this evening's exhibition.

1' — Kickoff!

19:43 — Noteworthy observation: Ilkay Gündogan appeared to be singing the national anthem while Mesut Özil remains silent. The two received criticism for meeting with Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier this month.

19:38 — The players are out of the tunnel. It appears we will have a friendly this evening after all. Rain delay officially clocked at 1 hour, 35 minutes.

19:34 — Another reminder of the lineup for the friendly tonight...

Germany: Manuel Neuer — Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Süle, Antonio Rüdiger, Jonas Hector — Sami Khedira, Ilkay Gündogan — Julian Brandt, Mesut Özil, Leroy Sané — Nils Petersen

Austria: Jörg Siebenhandl — Sebastian Prödl, Aleksandar Dragovic, Martin Hinteregger — Stefan Lainer, Florian Grillitsch, Julian Baumgartlinger, David Alaba — Peter Zulj, Alessandro Schöpf — Marko Arnautovic

19:29 — Germany manager Oliver Bierhoff has told ZDF that Manuel Neuer spent time on the stationary bicycle to keep himself warm. He faces a big test to prove his fitness before Joachim Löw names his final squad for the World Cup.

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01:41 mins.

Will Neuer be ready for WC?

19:28 — Germany heads back into the tunnel for final preparations after a quick warm up. 

19:21 — If the match does indeed take place, it will be the 40th meeting between the two countries in international play. Austria has not defeated Austria since October 1986, an international friendly in which former Cologne and Mönchengladbach forward Toni Polster scored twice.

19:10 — The players are back on the field to warm up. If everything unfolds without incident, the match will kick off at 19:40.

19:04 — The referees head back into the tunnel with an entourage of officials from both teams, presumably to make a final decision on the match.

19:01 — The officiating crew is out evaluating the pitch as both teams await the results in the tunnel. The rain appears to have stopped in Klagenfurt.

18:43 — A decision on whether to play the game or not will come at 19:00. Rain has let up a little, but the pitch is still very wet.

18:32 — The officiating crew is kicking the ball to one another to test the field conditions, but the ball is continuously impeded by puddles on the pitch.

18:19 — Austrian officials say the heavy rain is expected to last for another half an hour. Referees will check the pitch conditions again at 18:45.

18:15 — Players have left the pitch again as the rain picks up again. Lightning and thunder may result in further delays. Manuel Neuer, hoping to prove he is still Germany's top goalkeeper, shakes his head as he heads back to the locker room.

18:08 — Players from both teams are now on the field warming up for the game. 

18:07 — The match will now kick off at 18:35. Austria coach Franco Foda told ZDF that he wanted his team to have enough time to warm up before the national anthems.

17:50 — ZDF confirm that match officials will check the conditions of the pitch at 18:00. If there are no problems, the match will kick off at 18:30. 

17:47 — Oliver Bierhoff confirms on German broadcaster ZDF that the game is in a rain delay. He said match officials did not give a specific time as to when the match will start, but said he is still expecting the match to take place.

17:43 — Joachim Löw is giving 29-year-old Nils Petersen his first start for Germany tonight. He has represented Germany at the under-19, under-20 and under-21 levels and was part of the team that earned silver at the 2014 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

17:40 — There is heavy rain and hail in Klagenfurt currently. No word yet if the game will be delayed. 

17:35 — Manuel Neuer is making his first appearance in 599 days. His last cap with the Germany team came in October 2016 in a World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland.

Read more: Manuel Neuer out to prove fitness ahead of Austria test

17:32 The starting lineups...

- Welcome to DW's live blog! Germany face Austria in Klagenfurt as they prepare for the World Cup in Russia. Many will be keeping an eye on Manuel Neuer, who is hoping to secure the starting goalkeeper spot despite missing the entire club season with various injuries. 

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