Goretzka strike saves Loew and new-look Germany the blushes

Thursday March 21 2019

Germany's midfielder Leon Goretzka (right) celebrates scoring with Germany's defender Jonathan Tah during their international friendly match against Serbia in Wolfsburg, western Germany on March 20, 2019. PHOTO | CHRISTIAN CHARISIUS |

Germany's midfielder Leon Goretzka (right) celebrates scoring with Germany's defender Jonathan Tah during their international friendly match against Serbia in Wolfsburg, western Germany on March 20, 2019. PHOTO | CHRISTIAN CHARISIUS |  AFP

AFP
By AFP
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BERLIN

Leon Goretzka spared coach Joachim Loew a humiliating defeat with a second-half equaliser as a new-look Germany side were held to a 1-1 draw in Wednesday's friendly against Serbia.

Having controversially dropped veterans Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Thomas Mueller from the national squad two weeks ago, coach Loew had announced the beginning of a "new era" ahead of Wednesday's game.

The young Germany side looked comfortable in the opening exchanges, but Serbia scored with their first chance on 12 minutes.

A fortunate deflection at a corner found Luka Jovic unmarked in front of goal, and the Eintracht Frankfurt striker nodded the ball past Manuel Neuer.

Germany brought on Marco Reus and Leon Goretzka in the second half, and set about grinding down a solid Serbian defence.

On the odd occasion Germany did break through, Serbian goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic frustrated the hosts with strong saves.

But after Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan could not take chances, Goretzka equalised on 69 minutes, lashing the ball past Dmitrovic from the edge of the box.

Germany will open their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign when they face the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Sunday.

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