November 14, 2012
Netherlands v Germany: Preview
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Germany coach Joachim Low is hoping a raft of withdrawals from his squad will enable some less familiar faces to show they are good enough to perform on the international stage.
Low, who guided his team to the semi-finals at both the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, has seen his plans for tomorrow night's friendly clash with Holland in Amsterdam thrown into disarray by the absence of several key men.
At least four of Mesut Ozil, Miroslav Klose, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Marcel Schmelzer, Jerome Boateng and Toni Kroos would have been likely starters at the ArenA.
But rather than dwell on the fact they are missing, Low is hoping their replacements can step up and give him food for thought.
His more established players squandered a 4-0 lead to draw 4-4 at home to Sweden last month and Low acknowledges this is a great chance for others to impress.
"I am looking forward to the game against Holland. For me, every international game is of great importance and gives us many insights,'' he said at today's press conference.
"We can take this opportunity to look at other players that do not get called up regularly, or have been called up for the first time.
"They will get the chance to prove themselves in such a prestige fixture.
"Therefore we take this game seriously.''
Low accepts his new side will face a Dutch team on the up.
Oranje have bounced back well from their Euro 2012 disappointment to win all four of their opening World Cup qualifiers.
"Holland, along with us, the Spaniards and one or two South American teams are the best in the world,'' he added.
"The Dutch have always had the highest standards and do so now.
"We have caught up in recent years and shown that we can beat such a team.''
Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has three caps to his name and is hoping to further his case for regular international recognition tomorrow.
"It is important that the players who are here show their power and that Germany is properly represented,'' he said.
Holland winger Arjen Robben, who plays his club football in Germany for Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich, is relishing the match-up but claimed the rivalry between the two countries has calmed over recent years.
The former Real Madrid man said: "The atmosphere between the two countries is now more relaxed. It will be a nice game.
"For us it is also a really good test to see where we are at the moment.
"We are in a phase in which it is most important that we develop - with entirely new players.''
Germany beat Holland 2-1 at the recent European Championship but Robben denied revenge was a motivation tomorrow.
"No, I do not see it that way,'' he said.
"They are two new teams. The Germans are missing a lot of players and we are developing something new. This is a very different game.
"The game against Germany is for us probably more important than the World Cup qualifiers.
"Germany is a world-class opponent - they are not Estonia or Hungary.
"We must make the best of it but Germany are currently one or two levels above us.
"We are under construction at the moment but still have a good team.''