Joshua Kimmich pulled no punches in his frank assessment of Germany‘s disappointing display in their penultimate World Cup warm-up friendly against Austria on Saturday, insisting that ‘everything was negative’ aside from the performance of goalkeeper Manuel Neuer on his first appearance since September.
The reigning world champions began well at Worthersee Stadion following a severe downpour in Klagenfurt that led kick-off to be delayed by 100 minutes, with Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil pouncing on a dismal clearance from goalkeeper Jorg Siebenhandl to hand them an 11th-minute lead.
However, Austria – who will not be present in Russia this month after finishing fourth in their qualification group – recovered well and won the contest 2-1 courtesy of second-half efforts from Augsburg defender Martin Hinteregger and Schalke midfielder Alessandro Schopf. It was their first victory over their neighbours since 1986.
And while Kimmich was angered by a result that saw Germany’s winless streak extended to five matches before a meeting with Saudi Arabia in Leverkusen on Friday, he did at least draw some encouragement from the display produced by Bayern Munich team-mate Neuer, who had previously missed almost nine months of action with a fractured foot.
The 32-year-old, limited to just 360 minutes of competitive football last term, drew praise from head coach Joachim Low and several team-mates after making a string of fine saves against Austria to prevent a heavier margin of defeat.
‘There are not a lot of positive things to say after a game like that,’ Kimmich said, according to FourFourTwo. ‘Apart from the performance of Manuel Neuer, almost everything was negative.
‘We only created few chances. We had a second opportunity with Julian Brandt. I can’t remember another one except that. We gave the opponent a lot of space and helped them with our mistakes.
‘At the beginning of the game I think we were dominant but not determined. But if you make a lot of mistakes, as we did, and fail to finish your attacks, you make your opponent better.’
Neuer also got some much-needed playing time under his belt last Monday, when he featured for the senior side for the final 30 minutes of a 7-1 victory over Germany’s Under-20 team at their pre-World Cup training base in South Tyrol in northern Italy.
Low and team manager Oliver Bierhoff have both said that the captain – and not Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Bernd Leno or Kevin Trapp – will be Germany’s first-choice goalkeeper in Russia if he makes the final 23-man squad which is due to be confirmed on Monday.
Germany will be based in a small village outside Moscow during the World Cup and plan to train at the CSKA Sports Complex.
Drawn in Group F, they open their quest to become the first team to successfully defend the World Cup for 56 years against Mexico at the Luzhniki Stadium on June 17.
Die Mannschaft then travel to Sochi to face Sweden on June 23 before taking on South Korea in Kazan four days later.