Loew to reveal thinking in final test for GermanyJune 2nd, 2010 - 9:00 pm ICT by IANS
Frankfurt, June 2 (DPA) German coach Joachim Loew is likely to field his strongest team in a last match Thursday before the football World Cup but will also use the encounter against Bosnia-Herzegovina to experiment.
Philipp Lahm will lead the side out for the first time since being appointed captain to replace the injured Michael Ballack in a match in Frankfurt which will reveal some of Loew’s thinking.
The coach said the match would show “the structure of the team” for South Africa but added he would also be looking at one or two alternatives.
After two training camps, in Sicily and the mountains of northern Italy, the indications are that Loew himself is not yet clear on his best formation.
“Often a team only comes together during the tournament itself. We still have a week of training in South Africa,” he said.
Loew late Tuesday omitted Hoffenheim full-back Andreas Beck in finalising his 23-man squad.
It leaves him with six players listed as strikers in what will be the youngest Germany squad - average age 24.96 - at a World Cup since the nation’s first appearance at the tournament in 1934.
Following the loss to injury of Ballack, fellow midfielder Christian Traesch and defender Heiko Westermann, several positions are open for debate.
Ballack’s job in central midfield is now to be taken by Bastian Schweinsteiger, with Stuttgart’s Sami Khedira partnering him in a more defensive role. Werder Bremen’s Mesut Ozil and Cologne’s Lukas Podolski also appear earmarked for the more attacking midfield roles.
Up front, Miroslav Klose will get the chance to play himself into form after a season largely on the bench at Bayern Munich, while first-choice Manuel Neuer is expected to have recovered from a
However, Loew still has to settle on a partner for Bremen central defender Per Mertesacker, while the full-back positions could also be shuffled around, with Lahm capable of playing left or right.
Should Lahm play on the right, Bayern newcomer Holger Badstuber, or one of the Hamburg duo Marcell Jansen and Dennis Aogo could get an opportunity on the left.
The match will also indicate how Loew intends to approach the tournament tactically. He could use two forwards or play with one main striker and a more withdrawn forward such as Bayern’s Thomas Mueller.
Other striker candidates are Bayern’s Mario Gomez, Leverkusen’s Stefan Kiessling and Stuttgart’s Cacau, while Loew has creative alternatives in midfield in Toni Kroos, Marko Marin or Piotr Trochowski.
The German players will have a couple of days to rest at home following the match before meeting up again on Sunday for the flight to Johannesburg.
The Germans are in Group D with a first match against Australia in Durban on June 13, followed by matches in Port Elizabeth against Serbia on June 18 and in Johannesburg against Ghana on June 23.
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Tags: andreas beck, bayern munich, central defender, central midfield, first appearance, football world cup, german coach, germany frankfurt, germany squad, joachim loew, lahm, last match, man squad, manuel neuer, mertesacker, michael ballack, miroslav klose, northern italy, sami khedira, schweinsteiger