Neuer returns but Germany lose to Austria in FIFA World Cup warm-up

International Friendly Report: Austria v Germany 02 June 2018

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.

Yet Austria was a much tougher proposition in the second period, with Martin Hinteregger and Alessandro Schopf scoring fine goals to seal a memorable triumph over their neighbours and stretch their winning streak to an impressive seven games.

"The final decision will probably not come until Sunday night", said Germany's head coach Loew on Friday.

Neuer has proven his fitness after eight months sidelined by a fractured foot in timely fashion, with four names to be cut ahead of Germany naming their final 23-man World Cup squad on Monday.

"Apart from the performance of Manuel Neuer, nearly everything was negative".

"The defeat is annoying, we did well in the first half, but we lost a lot of ball in the second half and made life hard for ourselves".

However, that uncertainty did little to disrupt Mesut Ozil, who took advantage of an early error from Austria goalkeeper Jorg Siebenhandl to give Joachim Low's side an 11th-minute lead.

With momentum going Austria's way, the hosts continued to press their opponents, who began making sloppy, panicky mistakes at the back.

Germany will be out to defend their title in Russian Federation and will be one of the favourites to lift the trophy, yet they must guard against complacency.

The lead was almost doubled 10 minutes later when Julian Brandt was played through on goal, but the forward saw his effort deflect wide of the upright.

Neuer was called into action on 31 as the Bayern Munich shot-stopper produced a superb save to keep out Florian Grillitsch's close-range effort.

Low made a raft of substitutions in the closing stages, but none of the changes had the desired impact as Germany's World Cup preparations suffered an unlikely setback.

Loew tried to shake things up with a double substitution on 67 minutes, throwing on forwards Timo Werner and Marco Reus, but Austria took the lead moments later.

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.

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