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Schweinsteiger exits in German win

dpadpa 31/08/2016

Germany have given captain Bastian Schweinsteiger an international farewell to remember.

Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger ended his long international career with a 67-minute appearance to earn his 121st cap in a 2-0 friendly win over Finland on Wednesday.

The low-key encounter in Moenchengladbach was a warm-up for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers but Schweinsteiger's departure overshadowed everything else, including the victory earned by Joachim Loew's young side.

"It means so much to me that each of you is here," the 2014 World Cup winner Schweinsteiger said before kickoff, struggling to contain his emotions.

"It has been an honour to play for Germany and you fans."

Schalke's Max Meyer and Arsenal's Mesut Oezil in bagged the goals in the 55th and 77th minute respectively but Loew is likely to be looking for a more energetic performance from his charges when they start their World Cup defence against Norway in Oslo on Sunday.

Defender Niklas Suele was handed his Germany debut while fellow Rio Olympic silver medallists Meyer and Julian Brandt also started.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen played in goal rather than Manuel Neuer while the likes of Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Sami Khedria, Toni Kroos and Thomas Mueller were all rested as Kevin Volland, Karim Bellarabi and Mario Goetze came in.

But if Loew hoped the newcomers would be anxious to seize their chance to impress he was to be disappointed in a lethargic first half.

Goetze went past keeper Lucas Hradecky only to hesitate and have his shot blocked but the closest Germany came to opening the scoring was when Paulus Arajuuri smacked a cross off his own post.

After the break Finland showed some rare attacking intent as Teemu Pukki was just short of turning home a cross before Volland slid the ball across goal at the other end.

The deadlock was broken out of the blue when Goetze's cross was dummied by Volland and Meyer arrived at full stretch to score.

All eyes turned to Schweinsteiger's final international minutes as Loew made a series of substitutions which broke up play. A fan even invaded the pitch for a selfie with the man of the hour, completely unopposed by security.

Finally Schweinsteiger's moment arrived and he trotted off to tremendous cheers from the 30,000 crowd when he was replaced by Julian Weigl.

What little competitive nature the match had ended when substitute Oezil found the net with the aid of a deflection and Mueller entered the pitch - wearing the captain's armband Schweinsteiger had kept when going off - moments later.

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