Gielnik scores brace as Germany defeat the returning Westfield Matildas
The Westfield Matildas returned to international action for the first time in almost 400 days as they were defeated 5-2 by Germany in Wiesbaden.
The Tony Gustavsson era commenced on Sunday morning (AEST) with a tough contest against the nation currently ranked second in the world.
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg's side struck early in both halves, registered a quick-fire double on the hour mark, and slammed home an impressive finish late to secure victory for the home nation.
The Westfield Matildas' two strikes both arrived courtesy of Emily Gielnik inside the final ten minutes.
Despite some bright signs emerging early on for Australia, it was Germany who opened the scoring on 11 minutes.
Tabea Waßmuth broke free down the right wing and her ball inside was deflected into the path of Sjoeke Nüsken, who made no mistake in slotting home her first international goal.
Five minutes later Gustavsson was forced into his first alteration, with an injury seeing Karly Roestbakken replaced by Beattie Goad, who became Westfield Matilda #206 in the process.
Just as Australia worked their way back into the contest with the likes of Kerr and Foord appearing threatening on the counter-attack, Germany began to amount a few more opportunities of their own.
Marina Hegering's diving header flashed narrowly wide of the mark before Lydia Williams was forced into a sharp stop down low to her right to deny a dangerous Paulina Krumbiegel effort.
On the stroke of half time a vital last-ditch challenge from the debutant Goad denied Lea Schüller, preventing Germany from doubling their lead.
However two minutes into the second half, the home nation achieved exactly that.
Sara Däbritz found some space out wide and floated a precise ball towards the back post which Kathrin Hendrich made no mistake in converting.
It could have been three in the 56th minute if not for another spectacular Williams save to keep out Lina Magull's close-range effort.
Following the hour mark, Germany struck twice in quick succession with two goals in three minutes.
Debutant Jule Brand was in the thick of the action, scoring a well-taken finish before breaking through and teeing up Laura Freigang to tap home a fourth.
The second half also saw Indiah Paige-Riley and Alexandra Huynh introduced, with both making their Westfield Matildas senior debuts in the process.
Feigang and Brang were then denied by the woodwork, but it would be Australia who struck next through Gielnik.
The Westfield W-League golden boot-winner continued her rich domestic goalscoring form onto the international stage, capitalising on a defensive slip-up to roll the ball past Merle Frohms with less than ten minutes remaining.
The closing stages saw both sides add one more to their tally, as Linda Dallmann curled home a fifth for Germany before Gielnik headed home her brace a minute later.
5-2 in favour of the reigning Olympic champions would be how the contest would conclude, with the Westfield Matildas' attention now turning to their next friendly fixture in the Netherlands.
Please note that all dates & times listed are AEST. Kick-off in the Netherlands is on Tuesday, 13 April 2021 at 6:30pm local time.