England host Germany on Tuesday at Wembley in a friendly game that is part of the English Football Associations 150th anniversary celebrations.
Usually a game between the two, even a friendly game would be eagerly anticipated by both nations, but the Germany boss Joachim Low has already admitted that he will not play his strongest side against the Three Lions.
Three of Germany’s most influential player’s keeper Manuel Neuer, full-back Philipp Lahm and midfielder Mesut Ozil will take no part in the friendly, despite all three being fit.
The absence of Lahm and Neuer may be down to the fact that their club team Bayern Munich face arch-rivals Dortmund at the weekend.
In years gone by though Germany would want to field their strongest team against England, even if there was a big top of the table clash in the Bundesliga.
The sad truth is that a lot of Germany’s current back-up players are of better quality than England’s first eleven. The likes of Mario Gotze, Marco Reus and Thomas Muller have not always been first choice players for the Germans in recent games, but the trio are likely to start at Wembley.
Those three players have all been linked with big money moves to Premier League clubs in the past and are amongst some of the most highly-rated young players in Europe. Muller is just 24, but seems to have been around an age.
He has already won most trophies’ there is to win in the club game with Bayern Munich, including the Bundesliga title and Champions League. Reus is part of the much-lauded Dortmund team and Gotze left Dortmund to join European champions Bayern in the summer.
When those three are compared to the likes of England back-ups Jay Rodriguez, Tom Cleverley and Jordan Henderson, they simply just do compare. The German game has undergone a renaissance in the last decade after a disastrous Euro 2000.
The Germans overhauled the way that the country produced young players and for the last few years those changes have produced the young players we are now seeing in the Germany national side.
England is attempting to replicate the changes that Germany underwent with the introduction of St Georges Park. Hopefully the changes made by the English FA will start showing dividends in the future and have the same effect as they did in the German game.
A lot of people involved in this friendly on the German side seem to be showing indifference to this fixture. The German FA have decided to return a substantial amount of unsold tickets for the game, when usually there would be a large contingent of fans supporting the visitors.
Maybe the Germany fans do not wish to watch their side take an England side that seems to be in transition at the moment. Maybe the Bundesliga has taken on a greater importance to the spectators with a major game this weekend.
Germany and England are not at the same level at the moment. The Germans proved that during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. That tournament saw the emergence of the exciting Germany team that has been formed in the last few years.
Germany have no doubt progressed immensely since then and qualified for next year’s World Cup with ease, while England rather laboured to qualification.
Germany is one of the few European nations that will head to Brazil with any realistic hope of claiming the trophy. The weather conditions will obviously favour the South American teams with the tournament being played on their home continent.
However, there seems to be a strong confidence amongst German fans and players that they can go to Brazil and claim their first international trophy since Euro 96.
Whatever team that Joachim Low decides to field against England it will be a major test for the Three Lions. Germany has quality throughout their squad. After Friday night’s 2-0 defeat against Chile at Wembley, England boss Roy Hodgson will probably pick a less experimental team on Tuesday.
The likes of Ashley Cole, Joe Hart and Steven Gerrard are all expected to return to the line-up for the game. The result matters less than the performance, but a victory over Germany, even in a friendly, will raise spirits amongst fans who seem to be confused about where England are at right now.
Can England beat Germany on Tuesday night?
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