German national team coach Joachim Löw is planning to make at least six changes to his team ahead of Tuesday night’s friendly against Brazil in Berlin – the final game before the announcement of Germany’s provisional World Cup squad on May 15.
Thomas Müller and Mesut Özil have both been allowed to return home after featuring in Germany’s 1-1 draw with Spain in Düsseldorf on Friday, while goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen will also make way.
Sami Khedira and Jonas Hector are to be given a rest while Emre Can has left the squad with a back problem. Marvin Plattenhardt, Ilkay Gündogan, Leroy Sané and Matthias Ginter are all set to come into the team, while Bernd Leno and Kevin Trapp will play one half each in goal.
Speaking at a press conference in Berlin on Monday, Löw confirmed that Jerome Boateng will captain the side in his hometown, a challenge the Bayern Munich central defender is relishing.
“Since I was a child I have dreamed of playing in the Olympic Stadium against Brazil,” the 29-year-old said, ahead of the first senior meeting between the two countries since Germany’s infamous 7-1 win in the 2014 World Cup semifinal in Brazil.
“We couldn’t really believe it,” recalled Boateng. “But at halftime, we said we had to see the game out professionally and that’s what we did in the second half.”
Asked by visiting Brazilian journalists how important that semifinal was to Germans, Löw responded: “I think it’s more important in Brazil than here. Of course it was a big game for us, but it was a step on our route to the final. Concentrating on beating Brazil’s arch rivals [Argentina] in the final was more important.”
The 7-1 defeat to Germany was the biggest humiliation in Brazil’s footballing history
Nevertheless, Löw and his players are adamant that Tuesday’s clash in Berlin represents a different challenge.
“Brazil have improved noticeably under their new coach, Tite, who has given them a new mentality. It’s no secret that Brazil love to play attacking football but now they are more disciplined defensively as well,” Löw said.
“In 2014, we didn’t focus on a single superstar; ultimately, the team performance takes precedence over individual class.”
Brazil’s greatest superstar, Neymar, will miss the game through injury, but the 72,717 capacity crowd in the Olympic Stadium can still look forward to watching a host of top names, including: Thiago Silva and Daniel Alves (Paris Saint-Germain), Marcelo and Casemiro (Real Madrid), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) and Roberto Firmino (Liverpool).
“Friday night [against Spain] was a test at the very highest level. When you look at the statistics, both teams had incredibly high successful pass ratios which shows that it was a match between two technically strong teams – and we expect more of that tomorrow [against Brazil],” Löw said.
“We’re glad to be able to play against such opposition because we can learn a lot. Germany can still get better. We must get better and we will get better.”