Nationaltrainer Jogi Löw has today named the twenty-two man squad for the friendly in Stuttgart against Brazil this coming Wednesday, and among the small tweaks there is one new addition – Borussia Dortmund’s new signing from 1. FC Nürnberg, İlkay Gündoğan.
A number of changes have been made to the squad that was selected for the last three fixtures against Uruguay, Austria and Kazakhstan; a number of players are being rested, some are still recovering from injury, while some of those who were injured for the matches in May and June are back in the squad for what is expected to be an exciting opening to the 2011-2012 international season – and you can’t get more exciting opposition than A Seleção. Löw’s squad has healthy contingents from 1. FC Bayern München (8) and Borussia Dortmund (4), a hark back to the glory days of the 1970s when the Nationalmannschaft was dominated by Bayern and their then rivals – the “other” Borussia, Mönchengladbach.
Two goalkeepers are named, with third man René Adler still struggling with injury; given the high profile nature of the fixture, one would expect Bayern’s new signing Manuel Neuer to start between the sticks next Wednesday ahead of Bremen’s Tim Wiese.
In defence, veteran Arne Friedrich is replaced by the fit-again Jérôme Boateng – who like Neuer has joined Bayern – while Dortmund’s Marcel Schmelzer is also out of the side through injury. There are three Bayern players – Boateng, Holger Badstuber and skipper Philipp Lahm – among the seven named defenders, and one can see them all starting in Stuttgart alongside one of either Dennis Aogo or Benedikt Höwedes.
Perhaps the most significant changes have taken place in midfield, where new boy Gündoğan is joined by recalled club team mate Sven Bender, the fit-again Bastian Schweinsteiger and Cacau, who returns to the international setup after the best part of a year. One of the two men over thirty in what is another very young German squad, Cacau will almost certainly get some match time – but will be hoping to start against his Brazilian countrymen. The Real Madrid pairing of Sami Khedira and Mesut Özil are both rested, and it will be interesting to see who Jogi Löw will start with from the eleven squad names. I am expecting the Nationaltrainer to stick with the tried and tested 4-5-1 formation; Schweinsteiger is almost guaranteed to start alongside Bayern team mate Thomas Müller, with any three of the other nine joining them. Both Gündoğan and Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Marco Reus (selected for the last squad but unable to make his debut through injury) will be looking to make their first appearances for the Schwarz und Weiß at senior level.
Up front there is no change, with the in-form Mario Gómez edging just in front of Lazio’s new signing Miroslav Klose to occupy the single-striker role. Having been injured against Uruguay and missing out on adding to his goalscoring tally against Austrian and Kazakhstan, elder statesman Klose will be looking for at least half an hour on the pitch in his continued attempt to haul Gerd Müller’s long-standing goal-scoring record.
Manuel Neuer (FC Bayern München)
Tim Wiese (SV Werder Bremen)
Dennis Aogo (Hamburger SV)
Holger Badstuber (FC Bayern München)
Jérôme Boateng (FC Bayern München)
Benedikt Höwedes (FC Schalke 04)
Mats Hummels (BV 09 Borussia Dortmund)
Philipp Lahm (FC Bayern München)
Christian Träsch (VfL Wolfsburg)
Sven Bender (BV 09 Borussia Dortmund)
Cacau (VfB Stuttgart)
Mario Götze (BV 09 Borussia Dortmund)
İlkay Gündoğan (BV 09 Borussia Dortmund)
Toni Kroos (FC Bayern München)
Thomas Müller (FC Bayern München)
Lukas Podolski (1. FC Köln)
Marco Reus (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
Simon Rolfes (Bayer 04 Leverkusen)
André Schürrle (Bayer 04 Leverkusen)
Bastian Schweinsteiger (FC Bayern München)
Mario Gómez (FC Bayern München)
Miroslav Klose (SS Lazio)
My starting XI:
Neuer – Lahm (c), Boateng, Höwedes, Badstuber – Rolfes, Götze – Müller, Schweinsteiger, Schürrle – Gómez
Germany’s overall record against Brazil is not great (won 3, drawn 5, lost 12), and they will be looking to redress some of the imbalance when the two sides meet for the first time since the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup when Jürgen Klinsmann’s side were beaten in Nürnberg by the odd goal in five.
Stuttgart has played host to this fixture on three previous occasions, with all three games producing a 2-1 scoreline: the first match-up at the then Neckarstadion in 1968 saw the home side emerge triumphant, while in 1981 and 1998 the Brazilians went back home with the win – the latter being decided by a last-gasp strike from Ronaldo.
As usual I will be on Twitter with ongoing match updates, and finally hope to get the video reports kick-started. I have a new tripod for the camcorder, so have no excuses…