USA not underestimating depleted Germany side

Despite missing many of its first-team players, Germany will be a formidable opponent for the U.S. on Sunday
WASHINGTON -- This is Germany's B-team? Don't tell the U.S. men that.

Sure, this particular German side is missing a large portion of its usual starters, including Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Thomas Müller, Toni Kroos, and Bastian Schweinsteiger; Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels, Marco Reus, İlkay Gundogan and Mario Gotze; and Real Madrid's Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil.

A normal team missing that much firepower would be severely weakened. But then again, this Germany side is not a normal team.

Fielding a team full of second- and third-choice players, Die Mannschaft steamrolled a potent Ecuador side 4-2 on Wednesday, after getting out to a 4-0 lead just 23 minutes into the match.

Featuring stars like Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose, Sven Bender, Julian Draxler and the Chelsea-bound Andre Schurrle, the Germans will give the U.S. a stern test in the federations's centennial match at RFK Stadium on Sunday.

"We have a lot of respect for their team," U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley told reporters Friday. "They already had a very good team and in the past few years they've made big strides. So even on a day when they don't have all of their first choice guys, you still have to have respect for that next group of guys who are working and fighting to get their way in."

Germany has been one of the world's strongest sides for nearly a decade, with a third-place finish at the 2006 World Cup followed by becoming the runner-up at Euro 2008, then another third-place finish at the 2010 World Cup, before a semifinal appearance in last summer's European Championship.

"You look at the players they have and they're all dangerous players attacking wise," U.S. defender Matt Besler said. "So the margin for error when you play those teams is a lot smaller than any other team."