VIENNA — Austria outplayed a toothless Germany to win 2-0 in their friendly yesterday, ending their year on a high while piling more pressure on the embattled Euro 2024 hosts who had Leroy Sane sent off early in the second half.
Marcel Sabitzer’s low drive in the 29th minute put the dominant hosts, who have qualified for the Euros, in front with Germany posing no threat in attack and needing 32 minutes for their first shot on goal.
Another quick passing move led to Austria’s Christoph Baumgartner chipping the ball over keeper Kevin Trapp in the 73rd, with Germany down to 10 men following the 49th-minute red card for Sane.
For Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann, who took over in September, it was the second straight loss after Saturday’s 3-2 home defeat to Turkiye, forcing him back to the drawing board seven months before the start of the Euros on home soil.
Nagelsmann blamed a lack of unity within the team on the pitch while also criticising an “absurd rate of loss of possession in the first half.”
“At the end of the day we have to accept that we have a lot of work in front of us,” Nagelsmann said. “The coaches and players have to accept it and nothing will be easy from now until the summer.”
“We have to accept that it will only work through extremely hard work. That’s a fact,” he said. “The players are maybe playing not as freely as they could. We are not that unit that we are off the pitch. It is just missing on the pitch.”
Austria shot out of the blocks and overwhelmed the error-prone Germans with a high-pressing game.
While the hosts carved out several chances, including a golden opportunity for Michael Gregoritsch who failed to beat Trapp when one-on-one, Germany had to wait 32 minutes for their first effort towards goal.
Three minutes earlier Austria had taken the lead with a four-pass counter attack that ended with Sabitzer threading a shot into the goal past two defenders and Trapp.
The Germans brought on the experienced Thomas Mueller after the break but it was the Austrians who picked up where they had left off.
German frustration boiled over in the 49th minute when Sane grabbed Phillipp Mwene by the throat and shoved him to the ground following a foul, and was dismissed with a straight red card.
It was his first red card in his 402nd game as a professional footballer for club and country.
Germany’s disappointing evening was complete when Baumgartner added a second goal, with Austria missing more chances late in the game. — Reuters