Football

Cool despite boos

Coach Loew pleased as youngest-ever Germany side give good showing

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY

GERMANY 0

POLAND 0

Germany coach Joachim Loew shrugged off whistles from disgruntled home fans as their youngest-ever side held Poland 
to a goalless draw.

In the first of their three pre-World Cup friendlies, which was played in Hamburg yesterday morning (Singapore time), Loew handed debuts to 12 players, eight of whom started the game.

Thirteen of his squad were unavailable as they are preparing for Saturday's German Cup final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

Real Madrid's Sami Khedira will also join the squad only after the all-Spanish Champions League final on May 24.

Loew's starting 11, which had a combined total of just 13 caps, were the youngest side ever named in the 106-year history of the German Football Association.

Their average age of 21.45 beat the previous record of 21.5 for a 1908 international against Switzerland.

Last night, Loew trimmed his 30-man squad to 27-strong, dropping Schalke's young midfielders Leon Goretzka, 19, and Max Meyer, 18, both of whom made their international debuts against Poland, and Hamburg defender Marcell Jansen, 28.

FUTURE

Said Loew: "I like the performance of the young side and players like Leon Goretzka and Max Meyer belong to the future.

"They are still young and still have lots of opportunities to play at big tournaments."

Augsburg's 23-year-old midfielder Andre Hahn, who came on in the second half against Poland and missed a chance to score with a bicycle-kick, was also replaced by Borussia Moenchengladbach's tall, versatile midfielder Christoph Kramer, also 23.

"This has nothing to do with Hahn's performances," Loew said. "It has to do with the position in central midfield where we had several players with injuries or were absent for some time.

"We want to have a further option with us at the training camp, so as to be prepared for any scenario."

Loew also stuck with his choice for a second striker in Kevin Volland, 21, another debutant, to partner veteran 35-year-old Miroslav Klose in Brazil next month.

Volland, who plays for Hoffenheim, had a few half-chances up front as he played the first half, while at the other end, Poland's defensive midfielder Mateusz Klich forced Germany goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler into a save with half an hour gone.

A 32nd-minute header by Stuttgart's Antonio Ruediger was the Germans' best chance of the opening half.

Loew has just one more friendly, against also World Cup-bound Cameroon in Moenchengladbach on June 1, before submitting his final 23-man World Cup squad the following day.

Germany, semi-finalists at the last two World Cups, then play a final friendly against Armenia on June 6 before flying to Brazil.

UNBEATEN

Despite the whistles of discontent from the 37,000-strong crowd at the final whistle, Germany had at least maintained their unbeaten record against their neighbours in 18 meetings.

"I didn't hear any whistling at the end. Besides, the fans got a good performance from a young side and should be happy with that," said Loew.

"That was fun, we had a crazy amount of debutants in the team, but they did their jobs very well.

"We were well-organised and played well going forward. Even without the goals, it was a fun game."

Of the starting side against Poland, only captain Julian Draxler has a realistic chance of lining up to face Portugal in Germany's Group G opener in Salvador on June 16.

Ghana and the US, coached by Loew's predecessor Juergen Klinsmann, are the other teams in the group. - Wire Services.


GERMANY’S 27-MAN SQUAD

  • GOALKEEPERS: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Roman Weidenfeller (Dortmund), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hanover 96)
  • DEFENDERS: Philipp Lahm, Jerome Boateng (both Bayern), Kevin Grosskreutz, Erik Durm, Mats Hummels, Marcel Schmelzer (all Dortmund), Benedikt Hoewedes (Schalke), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), Shkodran Mustafi (Sampdoria)
  • MIDFIELDERS: Mario Goetze, Toni Kroos, Thomas Mueller, Bastian Schweinsteiger (all Bayern), Marco Reus (Dortmund), Mesut Oezil, Lukas Podolski (both Arsenal), Andre Schuerrle (Chelsea), Lars Bender (Bayer Leverkusen), Sami Khedira, (Real Madrid), Julian Draxler (Schalke), Matthias Ginter (Freiburg), Christoph Kramer (B Moenchengladbach)
  • FORWARDS: Miroslav Klose (Lazio), Kevin Volland (Hoffenheim)