Questions of loyalty cast shadow over German World Cup squad

Mats Hummels criticises Germany fans for booing Ilkay Gundogan

Timo Werner came up with a goal and an assist to help Germany edge past a resilient Saudi Arabia 2-1 in an global friendly here.

Ilkay Gundogan was booed by the German fans present at the BayArena during Germany's friendly against Saudi Arabia on Friday night.

"I have no concerns after this game", said Germany coach Joachim Loew.

"We eased off in the second half, defensively we need to work a bit better and not leave so many open spaces".

"I'm not anxious because I know we're going to keep on improving".

The Germans grabbed a ideal start into the encounter as Joshua Kimmich's long ball found Marco Reus inside the box before Timo Werner hammered home from close range with eight minutes into the game.

Alex Grimm  GettyImages
Alex Grimm GettyImages

"For all the irritation we have now, we are one team, also in Germany with our fans", he said.

Yet they failed to maintain the tempo and their defence suffered a few lapses of concentration as the Saudis showed off their speed and skill, putting central defender Mats Hummels under pressure in the first half.

Holders Germany are looking to become just the third team to defend their World Cup title when they take the field in Russian Federation.

The Saudis pulled a goal back when Taisir Al-Jassim scored on the rebound after Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved a penalty in the 85th minute and he missed a golden opportunity to level in stoppage time. In the second half, we rested on our laurels a bit.

Gundogan and Arsenal's Mesut Ozil, both of Turkish descent, have attracted criticism for their recent meeting in London with Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is the subject of scrutiny from human rights groups and exiled Turkish citizens over his government's treatment of journalists, civil rights activists and political opponents.

Unfortunately for him, the German fans had little sympathy for the Premier League victor who was jeered every time he touched the ball for the final half-hour of the game. Saudi Arabia will face hosts Russian Federation in the World Cup opener three days earlier.

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