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  • August 15, 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • Commerzbank-Arena, Frankfurt am Main
  • Referee: J. Eriksson
  • • Attendance: 48808

Germany - Argentina Preview: World heavyweights clash in Frankfurt

Germany - Argentina Preview: World heavyweights clash in Frankfurt

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Joachim Low's men will try to put their European Championship disappointment behind them when they face the South American giants, who have been in impressive form of late



Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Schmelzer
Khedira, Kroos
Muller, Ozil, Schurrle

Zabaleta, Fernandez, Garay, Rojo
Sosa, Mascherano, Gago, Di Maria
Messi, Aguero

Germany will be without a number of recognisable names for this prestige friendly. Mario Gomez is recovering from ankle surgery, Bastian Schweinsteiger has been struggling for fitness, Philipp Lahm is awaiting the birth of his second child, while Arsenal duo Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski have been granted time off with the new Premier League season fast approaching. Manuel Neuer, meanwhile, was a late withdrawal from the squad.

Marc Andre ter Stegen was called up as a replacement for the Bayern goalkeeper, but given his poor performance in May's friendly against Switzerland, the more experienced Ron-Robert Zieler will probably start between the sticks. Mertesacker's absence will allow Mats Hummels and Holger Badstuber to continue their blossoming partnership at the heart of defence, while Jerome Boateng should retain his right-back spot, despite the challenge of Benedikt Howedes, with Marcel Schmelzer filling in on the opposite side.

Toni Kroos will start in Schweinsteiger's usual slot, with Andre Schurrle filling in for Podolski on the left wing. Miroslav Klose, the only No.9 selected for the squad, will start up front, but Low may want to gauge Marco Reus' credentials as an out-and-out striker as the match wears on.

Elsewhere, Argentina will continue with the 4-4-2 formation that has served them well in recent months. Fabricio Coloccini has returned to the squad, but is unlikely to displace Ezequiel Garay and Federico Fernandez at centre-back.

Boca Juniors full-back Clemente Rodriguez could get the nod on the left side of defence ahead of Sporting Lisbon's summer signing Marcos Rojo after making a comeback to the national team in recent years, with Javier Mascherano and Fernando Gago forming a shield in front of the defence.

Jose Sosa has made the slot on the right-hand side of midfield his own in recent years, and up front, Lionel Messi will partner either Sergio Aguero or Gonzalo Higuain. However, its seems the Manchester City man could get the nod due to his superior fitness levels, with the Premier League's commencement coming a week sooner than that of La Liga.

  • These two sides met one another in the quarter-finals of the last two World Cups, with Germany triumphing on both occasions. Jens Lehmann was the hero in 2006 as die Mannschaft won on penalties, before a Bastian Schweinsteiger-inspired team trounced the Argentines 4-0 in 2010.
  • Miroslav Klose (pictured) scored his 64th international goal against Greece in the Euro 2012 quarter-final. The veteran forward needs just find the net four more times to match Gerd Muller's all-time national team record.
  • Apart from the former Bayern Munich striker, no player called up for the Argentina friendly is over the age of 25.
  • West Germany beat the Albiceleste 1-0 in the 1990 World Cup final in Italy thanks to a late penalty from then-Inter star Andreas Brehme.
  • However, their triumph in Rome was little more than a revenge mission, as Argentina had beaten 3-2 them four years previously on home soil thanks to an 84th minute Jorge Burruchaga strike.
  • Jose Sosa, now of Metalist Kharkiv, spent a total of three years at Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, and won his first international cap in 2007, a fortnight after sealing his move to Bavaria.
  • Lionel Messi has scored hat-tricks in Argentina's last two friendlies; against Brazil in June and Switzerland in February. He has also netted a goal in each of their last two World Cup qualifiers.
  • Angel Di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain will be coming up against their Real Madrid team-mates Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil on Wednesday.

Players to watch

A. Schürrle

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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An opportunity awaits for Andre Schurrle. Lukas Podolski has been left out due to his commitments at club level, and given the Arsenal striker's struggles when representing his nation over the last couple of years, the Bayer Leverkusen attacker could make the left-wing slot in Joachim Low's side his own. His record at with Die Mannschaft has been terrific since he made his debut two years ago, and having been linked with a big money move to Chelsea throughout the summer, the time has come for the 21-year-old to prove his worth.

L. Messi

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

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After he scored a phenomenal 73 goals in all competitions last year for Barcelona, one could be forgiven for assuming that Lionel Messi would not be able to scale those heights once more. However, having turned 25 in June, the best is yet to come from the Argentine. Since being handed his country's captaincy, he has finally transferred his club form to the international stage, and given Germany's recent woes at the back, the Rosario-born forward could give Joachim Low's men a real headache throughout Wednesday's game.

Editor's Prediction

After their thrilling victory against Brazil in June, Argentina will go into this clash decidedly more confident than their German counterparts, who bowed out of Euro 2012 with a whimper, and do not seem to have fixed the old problems. However, Joachim Low has a infinitely more complete squad at his disposal than Alejandro Sabella, despite the absence of the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lukas Podolski and Mario Gomez. Their deputies will be keen to impress in their absence, however, and in spite of Germany's obvious defensive problems, I would expect them to record a narrow win in what promises to be a thrilling encounter.

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Argentina ARG
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