8.06.2018Bayer 04

Germany win at the BayArena

Germany beat Saudi Arabia 2-1 at the BayArena in the final friendly ahead of the World Cup finals in Russia (14 June to 15 July). Julian Brandt came on after 73 minutes to earn his sixteenth cap for Germany.

"We started pretty well in the first half. We eased off in the second," said Germany coach Joachim Löw after the match. A lot of chances were missed and the opponents had too many. "But we'll be livelier and more dynamic and play with more power in next week's World Cup opener against Mexico."

A sell-out 30,210 crowd provided an atmospheric setting at the BayArena, with lots of families, children and teenagers getting behind Germany. The hosts took the lead after just eight minutes with Timo Werner scoring the opener after good work by  Joshua Kimmich and Marco Reus. Germany made a promising start and dominated proceedings early on but then were careless and not always sharp up front. Saudi Arabia, who face Russia in the opening game of the World Cup on 14 June, came close to equalising. After the German woodwork was hit twice, the hosts doubled the lead before the break with an own goal from Hawsawi (43').

Julian Brandt replaced Thomas Müller on 73 minutes and he had a good chance to make it 3-0 two minutes later but he failed to connect properly with a whipped-in cross from Mario Gomez. The Saudis pulled  a goal back with five minutes to play. Marc André ter Stegen saved a penalty taken by Al-Sahlawi but Al-Jassim was able to net the rebound.

The match against Saudi Arabia was the eighth international to be played at Leverkusen. Germany have a good record here with seven wins and one draw.

Germany set off for Russia at the start of the week. The holders of the World Cup meet Mexico (17 June), Sweden (23 June) and South Korea (27 June) in Group F.

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