I sometimes wonder why we still bother with these friendly matches. Unless they serve some sort of purpose – the hastily-arranged fixtures packed in before every major tournament springs to mind – there is just no real point. Fans pay decent money to watch these “prestige” games, only to see squads start dropping like flies as the game approaches.
Nationaltrainer Joachim Löw has already seen Mario Götze, Marco Reus, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Marcel Schmelzer pull out of Wednesday’s trip to Paris, and today these four were joined by Miroslav Klose. Probably fearing the squad shrivelling away completely, Löw has brought Sven Bender into the mix.
Germany hasn’t beaten France in over twenty-five years, and with all of these top players dropping out there is little chance of changing that dreadful statistic. The last time the two teams met was in Bremen last year when the Nationalmannschaft delivered a woeful performance, and I can see the same thing happening again at the Stade de France on Wednesday.
The opportunity was there for Löw to give a chance to some of those players desperate for an opportunity: with Klose’s withdrawal from the squad, there was surely an opportunity to give Leverkusen striker Stefan Kießling a go – aber nein, in comes a defensive midfielder.
As these games are turning (or have long since turned) into overpriced and meaningless affairs, perhaps it is time for everyone to be honest – it would be a better idea to throw in a bunch of youngsters and call it an Under-23 friendly.