Germany ‘keeper Neuer makes first start for eight months

"He had two, three excellent saves", Loew said about Neuer, who played his 75th worldwide game but first since October 2016.

Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer catches a ball as hail falls during warmup before a friendly soccer match between Austria and Germany in Klagenfurt, Austria, Saturday, June 2, 2018. "We didn't execute many things we had planned", Low said.

Mesut Ozil pounced on a goalkeeping error to give Germany the lead.

His presence is a major boost as Germany target a second consecutive World Cup triumph.

Austria grew into the game, while Germany became more sloppy as the action went on, and although Joachim Low's charges went ahead at the break, they were pegged back on 53 minutes.

"There is a lot of work to do, but we won't drive ourselves insane", he said.

Mats Hummels and Thomas Mueller, who are rested, are also being left behind in Eppan by Loew, but for the rest of the 27-man squad this is their last chance to win a place on the plane to Russian Federation.

After 259 days out injured, Neuer pulled off a string of saves in an impressive first-half display, but had little chance to stop Austria's goals after Germany's defence leaked badly in the second half.

Loew has said he will only take Neuer to Russian Federation as his first-choice 'keeper. "He doesn't have any problems with his foot after the game, that's important".

It ensured Austria their first win over Germany in 32 years and maintained Franco Foda's 100% record since becoming their coach last November, BBC reports.

Austria's match-winner still sees Germany as among the favourites to defend their world title in Russian Federation.

"It's always great to win, especially against Germany".

"But they have some quality players and are still one of the favourites for the title".

The loss on Saturday evening was the last match before the final 23-man World Cup squad announcement on Monday, according to the German football federation's website.

"We didn't find our game".

The Freiburg striker was the top scoring German in the Bundesliga, but is one of the chief candidates to be axed after making his debut for 76 minutes against Austria.

Germany play their final friendly before Russian Federation 2018 when they host Saudi Arabia in Leverkusen next Friday with their opening World Cup match against Mexico in Moscow on June 17 having also drawn South Korea and Sweden in Group F.

  • Angelo Rivera