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European football

Neuer looking to finish the year on a high with Germany

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer wants to draw a line under a bad year and hopes Germany can take their frustrations out on the Dutch on Monday following a 3-0 friendly win over Russia

Manuel Neuer wants Germany to end a dreadful year with a flourish against Holland on Monday.

Germany are unable to qualify for the Nations League Finals and will almost certainly be relegated from Group A if the Dutch avoid defeat against France on Friday.

Dropping out of the top tier of countries would compound an already forgettable 2018 for Die Mannschaft, who made a limp defence of their World Cup in the summer by exiting in the group stage in Russia.

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Neuer wants to draw a line under what has happened and hopes Germany can take their frustrations out on Holland in Gelsenkirchen following a 3-0 friendly win over Russia.

“Victory is very important to us,” he said on the German Football Association’s website.

“We want to finish the bad year well and win the last game of the year. That was a good start.

“We want to try to play a similarly good game against Holland and to show that over 90 minutes what we showed in the first half.

“We have many good players with great potential who show what they can do.”

The win over Russia will do little to reduce the pressure on Germany head coach Joachim Low but a confident display from a side missing several regulars should boost morale ahead of the Holland fixture.

Mats Hummels, Marco Reus and Thomas Muller were all named on the bench while the likes of Toni Kroos and Julian Draxler were missing altogether.

Leroy Sane opened the scoring in Leipzig with his first senior international goal while Niklas Sule and Serge Gnabry were also on-target as Germany went three goals to the good before half-time.

“I think we have a lot of good young players, no matter what position,” Sane said. “We want to prepare well for Monday and play well against Holland. We showed young players that we can play the national coach’s system.”

Low believes Sane’s goal will lift a weight off his shoulders, saying: “I believe Leroy will benefit from scoring.

“He created three or four good chances to score in previous matches but wasn’t able to take them. His goal will come as a great relief to him.”

On the win, he added: “Our style of play worked well in the first half.

“At this summer’s World Cup, we didn’t have the pace in attack that we now possess, we were not able to create the chances in the final third and that made it easier for our opponents to defend. We performed much better today.”

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