DORTMUND: Gareth Southgate’s first match as permanent manager of England ended in defeat as Lukas Podolski marked his final Germany appearance with a stunning winner in a 1-0 victory in Dortmund.
England looked comfortable in possession and a far larger threat than the World Cup winners, only to be caught cold as Podolski’s 130th and final Germany appearance ended with a fairytale strike that secured the win.
Southgate’s experimental three-man defence worked well and his attackers’ intensity caused problems, with Adam Lallana hitting the post as England looked to turn first-half dominance into an opening goal.
Germany lacked such force in their play as the focus on Podolski’s final appearance seemed to take the edge off their play, only for the former Arsenal man to wind back the years by unleashing a stunning 25-yard goal.
It was a fitting end to a fine international career on a night of promise for England, even if it ended Southgate’s four-match unbeaten run as manager.
There was a sombre mood around the Three Lions camp before the match, with Southgate saying the Westminster terror attack “puts football into perspective”.
The Football Association chose to mark the attack in Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania instead of at Signal Iduna Park, where the hosts said farewell to popular forward Podolski.