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Swiss hold misfiring Germany to draw

Basel (Switzerland) (AFP) – Germany are third in their Nations League group after being held for the second time in a week as Switzerland fought back to earn a 1-1 draw on Sunday in Basel.

Ilkay Gundogan gave Germany the opening goal on 14 minutes only for Swiss right-back Silvan Widmer to equalise just before the hour mark behind closed doors.

Having also been held at home to a 1-1 draw by Spain last Thursday after conceding a last-gasp goal, Germany again squandered the lead and failed to take their chances.

Following the draw with Spain, Germany head coach Joachim Loew complained about their punishing schedule of eight games in three months.

His side again looked jaded at times while the Swiss grew in confidence.

As pool leaders Spain beat Ukraine 4-0 in Madrid on Sunday, the result leaves Germany third behind the Ukrainians, who host the Germans in Kiev in October.

The Swiss are bottom of the group after two rounds.

Swiss head coach Vladimir Petkovic made three changes from the side which lost 2-1 to Ukraine last Thursday, bringing in Widmer and Loris Benito as wing-backs while Wolfsburg forward Renato Steffen started on the right.

Loew made two changes to the side held by Spain with Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno replacing Kevin Trapp and Matthias Ginter starting for Emre Can in defence. 

Germany made a strong start as Manchester City midfielder Gundogan curled his shot inside the post and outside the reach of Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer with just 14 minutes gone.

However, the hosts started pushing forward.

Germany centre-back Niklas Suele was beaten for pace when Benfica forward Haris Seferovic hit the post for the Swiss just before half-time.

Bayern Munich winger Leroy Sane, short of match fitness after being sidelined for most of last season by a knee injury, made way for Dortmund forward Julian Brandt at half-time.

Switzerland kept building pressure.

They deservedly equalised when Moenchengladbach striker Breel Embolo, one of six in the Swiss team who play for German clubs, picked out Widmer who beat Leno on 58 minutes.

The Swiss finished the stronger when their captain, Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka forced his Gunners’ team-mate Leno into another good save from a well-struck free kick. 

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