The German national team will finish the calendar year with two international friendlies against its two most traditional rivals, Italy (November 15th in Milan) and England (November 19th in London), later this month. The two fixtures were scheduled with preparation for next year’s World Cup in mind and will allow coach Joachim Löw to further test and polish his squad. Coach Joachim Löw will also celebrate his 100th game in charge of the national team.
It’s finally Roman’s turn
Amongst the inclusions was the nomination for Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller, who at 33, will make his international debut. If Weidenfeller plays against Italy or England he will be the oldest goalkeeper to ever make his international bow and the sixth oldest player in national team history. Many have been calling for Weidenfeller’s inclusion for a long time with Dortmund’s recent success and Löw finally recognized his contribution with a deserved call up:
Manuel Neuer is still our number one choice. We also know what we have with Rene Adler and young goalkeepers like Ron-Robert Zieler or Marc-Andre ter Stegen. We have been monitoring Roman Weidenfeller for a long time and watched his strong performances for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga and the Champions League. We’re happy to have him in our team and to get to know him better.
Furthermore, Löw did not rule out calling up additional players in the lead up to the tournament, saying that the final squad is far from being decided yet and they will continue to experiment with different options:
Whether it is the goalkeeper or any other positions, we don’t have to make final decisions right now. The nomination of the squad for the tournament isn’t until May 2014. Until then we are more than happy to consider every option, wether from a tactical perspective or personnel. The competition for positions is only going to get harder from now on.
Schweinsteiger’s injury concerns
Miroslav Klose returned to the squad following his injury last month but out of the squad yet again is Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger who will undergo surgery for the second time this year. Schweinsteiger has been struggling with recurring ankle injuries for the better part of a year and has been playing through the pain in recent weeks. Although Germany have no shortage of options in central midfield with the Bender brothers, Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira, Schweinsteiger’s continuous injuries signal a worry with the tournament approaching. Mario Gomez, Lukas Podolski and Ilkay Gündogan also continue to miss out due to injuries.
Another chance at Italy
Despite the press that will inevitably surround an England vs Germany fixture, the match against Italy is the more exciting and significant one for Löw and the national team. Historically, Germany have a 22% win record against the Italians. Only against Brazil do they have a worse percentage. Italy have also been their bogey team in tournaments, beating them several times, most recently the elimination in the semi finals of EURO 2012. Out of 31 matches Germany have won only seven and in Löw’s 100th game in charge they will look to slowly turn that record around.
We’re not thinking about the past. But it is obvious that in games between Germany and Italy due to the history they are always special occasions. We are two of the most successful football nations and when we meet the occasion is always great. It is always our wish to test ourselves against the absolute top teams in the world. It benefits our development when we get to play at a really high level.
The Full Squad
Goal: René Adler (Hamburger SV), Manuel Neuer (Bayern München), Roman Weidenfeller (Borussia Dortmund)
Defense: Jerome Boateng (Bayern München), Benedikt Höwedes (Schalke 04), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Marcell Jansen (Hamburger SV), Philipp Lahm (Bayern München), Per Mertesacker (FC Arsenal), Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund), Heiko Westermann (Hamburger SV)
Midfield: Lars Bender (Bayer Leverkusen), Sven Bender (Borussia Dortmund), Julian Draxler (Schalke 04), Mario Götze (Bayern München), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Toni Kroos (Bayern München), Thomas Müller (Bayern München), Mesut Özil (FC Arsenal), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Sidney Sam (Bayer Leverkusen), André Schürrle (FC Chelsea)
Forwards: Miroslav Klose (Lazio Rom), Max Kruse (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
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