Football

German striker Werner expects tough test from physical Aussies

GROUP B
AUSTRALIA GERMANY

World champions Germany will pit an inexperienced line-up against Australia in their Confederations Cup Group B opener tonight, with striker Timo Werner anticipating a robust challenge from the Socceroos.

With an average age of just 24 years and four months, and a combined total of 179 international appearances, Germany have the youngest squad among the eight Confed Cup teams.

Only three players - Arsenal's Shkodran Mustafi, Matthias Ginter and Julian Draxler - were part of the World Cup-winning squad in Brazil three years ago, but none of the trio played in the Rio de Janeiro final.

With the likes of Thomas Mueller, Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng all at home, Joshua Kimmich is the only Bayern Munich player in the Germany squad.

On the back of his breakthrough season with RB Leipzig, striker Timo Werner expects a fiery start in Sochi.

"We don't all know how fit we are after a long and hard season," said the 21-year-old.

"Now comes an unpleasant game in which the Australians will try, with their physique and toughness, to take us on.

"But we have a duty to win the three points. We need to get a quick goal and then exert some dominance."

A year away from the World Cup in Russia, there has never been a better time for the Socceroos to poach a first win over Germany at a major competition at the fourth attempt.

The world champions have made no secret of the fact their goal is not to win the Confederations Cup, but to blood their next generation of stars.

"The first priority is to develop the team, the second to win here," said team manager Oliver Bierhoff.

Australia have held their heads high against Germany in their last two meetings in friendlies.

The Socceroos shocked a below-strength German side 2-1 in Moenchengladbach in 2011.

Two years ago, the 2015 Asian Cup champions drew 2-2 against Germany in Kaiserslautern.

After the opening game in Sochi, Cameroon and Chile then await Australia and Germany in Group B. The top two sides progress to the semi-finals. - AFP

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