Lukas Podolski struck the winner on his Germany swansong as England went down 1-0 in Gareth Southgate’s first match since being installed as permanent manager.
The former Arsenal striker gave an emotional speech ahead of a friendly encounter that had the atmosphere of a testimonial – and Die Mannschaft’s skipper for the night capped his big finale with a stunning strike 21 minutes from time in Dortmund.
It was harsh on the Three Lions who were the better side for long spells, with Adam Lallana hitting the post and Dele Alli wasting a gilt-edged chance for Southgate’s experimental line-up.
The hosts fielded a youthful team but improved after the break and stole the victory when Podolski blasted home his 49th goal for his country on his 130th appearance. Only Lothar Matthaus (150) and Miroslav Klose (137) are ahead of the 31-year-old Galatasaray player on Germany’s all-time list – and he was fittingly saluted by all sections of the crowd when he was substituted late on.
It was a first defeat in five overall for Southgate, but he will take some real positives from this showing as debutant Michael Keane impressed at the back while Alli and Lallana linked up well in a new system.
England will now turn their attention to the World Cup qualifier with Lithuania at Wembley on Sunday.