Just a quick update before tonight’s encounter against England at Wembley, one more game to add to the list. According to reports Nationaltrainer Joachim Löw is set to rest a number of key players in the last international fixture of the year, including goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, playmaker Mesut Özil and – perhaps the biggest surprise – skipper Philipp Lahm.
Changes in the offing
Borussia Dortmund’s Roman Weidenfeller takes Neuer’s place between the posts to become the oldest goalkeeping debutant for the Nationalmannschaft, and the recalled Per Mertesacker looks set to lead the team out into the Wembley turf with Lahm, Schweinstieger and Miroslav Klose all absent.
With Sami Khedira also out for what looks to be a considerable time with a cruciate ligament injury – joining Bastian Schweinsteiger and İlkay Gündoğan – the defensive midfield looks particularly weak, and the resting of three first-choice names has led to Löw being accused of “disrespecting” his hosts. Whatever that word means these days.
The Maharishi Jogi has responded that this is all part of his long-term plan in approaching next year’s World Cup finals and that his intentions have been misrepresented, but I have to wonder if he might be cutting off his own nose to spite his face. Granted, the possible starting eleven is not a bad one – but the idea that they might be playing a German B-Elf may just play into England’s hands.
The last thing we all want now is the Sun, Star and Daily Mail prattling on about how good a tactician Roy Hodgson is and how overrated Germany are… But then this might all be part of Löw’s master plan to lull one of next year’s possible opponents into a false sense of security. Perhaps this Jogi is smarter than the average bear.
Here is the projected starting line-up, according to Kicker.de:
Weidenfeller – Höwedes, Mertesacker, Hummels, Schmelzer – S. Bender, Kroos – Sam, Draxler, Reus – Kruse
Some of you may have noticed that there has been nothing on the Italy game. Well, don’t worry. The match wasn’t aired in the UK and I was away from my computer at the time, so I had no chance to write anything. I am due to receive a copy of the match on DVD in the next few days, so I will get around to it.
As we move towards next year’s World Cup finals I am hoping to ramp things up here as much as possible – and will be looking for a few people who might be willing to provide the odd guest article. Whether it’s about a memorable match, a favourite player or just a piece of trivia about the Nationalmannschaft, I will certainly have a look. If you are interested, just drop me a line or leave a message on Facebook.