PARIS: A French side that has started life in promising fashion under Didier Deschamps will pose a serious test to Germany on Wednesday, with the visitors arriving in the French capital deprived of a host of leading players.
This encounter has been shoe-horned into a busy period of the club season, with the Champions League and Europa League knockout stages set to begin next week.
It was no great surprise, then, to see leading German players such as Bayern Munich’s Bastian Schweinsteiger and Borussia Dortmund trio Marcel Schmelzer, Marco Reus and Mario Goetze pull out of the game before the squad left Frankfurt for Paris.
Germany coach Joachim Loew has also lost veteran Lazio striker Miroslav Klose, who has a knee injury, leaving Bayern’s Mario Gomez as the only fit centre-forward available for a match that precedes a World Cup qualifying double-header against Kazakhstan next month.
Despite that, Loew opted to replace Klose with Dortmund midfielder Sven Bender rather than turn to Bayer Leverkusen’s Stefan Kiessling, the top-scoring German in the Bundesliga.
The visiting team that takes to the field at the Stade de France will have something of an experimental air to it, then, particularly in goal, where Hamburg’s Rene Adler is set to play with regular first choice Manuel Neuer rested.