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Wagner stakes Germany claim to face England


Cologne (Germany) (AFP) – Sandro Wagner made a case to face England in Germany’s forthcoming friendly international by netting twice in Hoffenheim’s 3-0 win at the Bundesliga’s bottom side Cologne on Sunday.

The Germans face Gareth Southgate’s England at Wembley on Friday before hosting France four days later in Cologne in friendlies designed to test the defending champions before next year’s World Cup in Russia.

The burly Wagner, who has five caps and five international goals to his name, drilled home a penalty on 56 minutes, then netted a header from a cross by ex-Leicester City player Andrej Kramaric on 80 minutes.

Hoffenheim had taken the lead after just nine minutes when midfielder Dennis Geiger stabbed the ball home at the second attempt.

The result lifts Hoffenheim to fifth, seven points behind leaders Bayern Munich who are now four-points clear at the top after Saturday’s 3-1 win at Borussia Dortmund, who drop to third.

Cologne remain rooted to the bottom, eight points from safety after 11 games with pressure growing on Austrian coach Peter Stoeger.

Wagner’s double in Cologne is well timed after Germany’s first-choice striker Timo Werner underlined his form after a neck injury with a goal and assist in  RB Leipzig’s 2-1 comeback win at home to Hanover 96.

The 21-year-old Werner, who has featured eight times for Germany and scored six goals, played his first 90 minutes since September and set up Yussuf Poulsen’s equaliser, then netted an 85th-minute winner after the Brazilian Jonathas gave Hanover the lead at Leipzig’s Red Bull Arena.

The result left Leipzig second in the table, four points behind Bayern.

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