Football

Germany set to field strong side against Spain

Joachim Loew is keeping his World Cup cards up his sleeve, but the Germany coach is set play a strong hand in their friendly against Spain tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

The defending champions begin to finetune their World Cup preparations with high-profile home friendlies against Spain, in Duesseldorf, and Brazil, in Berlin, four days later.

Loew revealed yesterday that World Cup winners Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Thomas Mueller, Mesut Oezil and Toni Kroos will all face Spain in a strong line-up.

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However, Liverpool midfielder Emre Can is out after picking up a back injury while on club duty.

The biggest absence will be Germany captain Manuel Neuer, who is recovering from a fractured foot, while Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen will start.

Said Loew: "Spain's best 11 to 13 players come from Atletico Madrid, Barca and Real Madrid, uniting all these virtues.

"You have Atletico's pressing game, Real's high speed and quick counter-attack with Barca's possession. That unites the national team and for me, they are one of the top favourites (for the World Cup)."

Germany midfielder Kroos could face Real teammates Isco and Marco Asensio and is relishing the prospect.

"Spain is a special game and a few of my Real teammates will be involved," said Kroos, who left Bayern Munich for Real in 2014.

"We'll need to play well, Spain stands for a certain type of football - a mix of Real and Barca.

"They have lost some players, but brought in others and they are back at the top level.

"I see that every weekend in the (Spanish) league and they are clearly among the World Cup favourites."- AFP

Football