Germany - France Preview: Blanc's men aim to preserve unbeaten streak against injury-plagued Mannschaft
The 2006 World Cup finalists head to Bremen having not tasted defeat in nearly 18 months, but face stiff opposition in the form of Joachim Low's somewhat depleted side
By Clark Whitney
Howedes, Hummels, Badstuber, Aogo
Reus, Ozil, Schurrle
Debuchy, Mexes, Rami, Evra
Valbuena, Nasri, Ribery
Joachim Low will be without four of his most experienced internationals on Wednesday, as captain Philipp Lahm, vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker are all either sidelined with injuries or rested.
Sven Bender also had to withdraw from Low's squad after sustaining a nasty bruise to his face over the weekend. Miroslav Klose and Sami Khedira also suffered knocks, and are questionable for the match: Mario Gomez and Lars Bender could stand-in for the striker and defensive midfielder, respectively.
The trainer has been coy as to who will feature from the start on Wednesday, but it is expected that he will use a mix of experience and newcomers. All eyes will be on Marco Reus, who has been in outstanding form for Monchengladbach but has yet to prove himself for Germany. He may start, most likely on the right wing rather than in the central role he occupies at club level.
France will also be somewhat short of staff, with Karim Benzema, Loic Remy and Younes Kaboul all ruled out of action. Recent reports have suggested that Laurent Blanc will experiment with his line-up, with Olivier Giroud set to lead the attack amid his fine run of form for Montpellier.
||DID YOU KNOW|
Germany are undefeated in 10 games, and have lost just one of their last 19 friendly and Euro qualifying matches.
- In Lahm, Mertesacker, Podolski, and Schweinsteiger, Joachim Low will be without players who have earned a combined 349 caps.
- Miroslav Klose has scored 63 times for Germany, just five short of Gerd Muller's national record of 68. The Lazio striker is also second on his country's all-time caps list, with 113.
France have not met Germany at senior level in more than a decade, but the two countries have squared off three times at U21 level, with either side winning once.
- Laurent Blanc's side lost just one of their Euro 2012 qualifiers, and have not been beaten since September 3, 2010.
- Marseille midfielder Morgan Amalfitano could make his first appearance for his country after receiving a call from Laurent Blanc.
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Top 3 Predictions
Germany 3-1 France
- 16.71 %
Germany 2-1 France
- 13.94 %
Germany 3-0 France
- 13.28 %
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Having scored 16 goals and given eight assists in 25 appearances this season, Reus is one of Europe's most dangerous attackers. He has seen very limited action for Germany thus far, but on Wednesday is expected to have his chance to shine.
The Bayern Munich man is no stranger to the Weserstadion, and following his two-goal haul over the week-end, is in fine form. He has proven to be a huge star at club level in recent years, but now, following two disappointing tournaments for France, is his time to show his class on the international stage.
Having won all their Euro 2012 qualifiers and prestige friendlies against the Netherlands, Brazil, and Uruguay last year, Germany will enter Wednesday's match as favourites. France are no push-overs, though, and have proven very difficult to beat. But even without several big stars and against difficult opposition, the hosts will most likely take the spoils.
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed