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France visit to provide Germany clues

Published: Tuesday 28 February 2012, 16.40CET
Questions such as whether Miroslav Klose will start ahead of Mario Gomez and who will form Germany's back line could be nearer to an answer as Joachim Löw's side face France.
by Steffen Potter
from Bremen
France visit to provide Germany clues
Joachim Löw's selection decisions for Wednesday could provide a clue to his eventual finals XI ©Getty Images
 
Published: Tuesday 28 February 2012, 16.40CET

France visit to provide Germany clues

Questions such as whether Miroslav Klose will start ahead of Mario Gomez and who will form Germany's back line could be nearer to an answer as Joachim Löw's side face France.

While Germany, like France, have something of a depleted squad for Wednesday's pre-UEFA EURO 2012 friendly in Bremen, some important questions could be answered.

Manuel Neuer is surely No1 but I will not leave him alone. I don't give up. But of course I will not create a fuss
Tim Wiese
I know it is about time for us to win a trophy
André Schürrle

Les Bleus are the highest-profile opponents Joachim Löw's side will meet before kicking off their finals campaign against Portugal on 9 June. His selection should give some idea of his thinking about his first-choice XI.

Will, for example, Löw plump for the in-form Mario Gomez or the stalwart Miroslav Klose, scorer of 63 international goals and a final-tournament specialist. Klose will start against France having been handed the captain's armband in Philipp Lahm's absence, a hint perhaps that the 33-year-old former SV Werder Bremen forward is in pole position.

Places in defence are also up for grabs, other than Lahm's berth being assured. Löw singled out another injury absentee, Per Mertesacker, for praise as one of the more important and experienced players when speaking to UEFA.com on Monday. But against France the chance could come for Holger Badstuber and Mats Hummels to prove they are the duo to anchor Germany's rearguard this summer.

Either way, France present formidable opponents, Löw saying: "They have a stable defence and outstanding players in attack." On a run of 17 games without defeat, the Germany coach thinks France have "a quite different mood, a new discipline" compared with their traumatic 2010 FIFA World Cup. In fact, Germany have not beaten France since 1987 and have lost four of their last five encounters.

Hoping to break his own personal duck for Germany is Bremen goalkeeper Tim Wiese, yet to taste victory in five appearances yet guaranteed a full 90 minutes in his home stadium. "I think I am the clear No2 – I have not been told otherwise," the 30-year-old said. "Manuel Neuer is surely No1 but I will not leave him alone. I don't give up. But of course I will not create a fuss."

Wiese's former Werder team-mate Mesut Özil added: "I know Tim from my time at Bremen and he is a very good keeper. I am happy for him that he will play tomorrow."

The Real Madrid CF and Germany playmaker also has an insight into French club colleagues past and present, saying Les Bleus have "some very good individuals like Karim Benzema and Franck Ribéry". Özil, though, is also certain "that we will win the match if we are able to realise our potential. We have a very young team which is very hungry for success. You can see on the pitch that we get along well and I enjoy playing here so much."

One of those youngsters is 21-year-old Bayer 04 Leverkusen midfielder André Schürrle, who after a two-season rise and five goals in 11 internationals seems ready to vie with another player missing on Wednesday, Lukas Podolski, for the left-midfield spot. "I know it is about time for us to win a trophy," Schürrle said. "I have taken my chances with the national team. I feel fully integrated and accepted here. We want to win every match, that is our motivation."

Last updated: 21/03/12 16.52CET

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