Julian Weigl and Joshua Kimmich are both eager to impress head coach Joachim Low when Germany take on Slovakia in Sunday’s friendly clash in Augsburg.
Both midfielders have enjoyed impressive campaigns for Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich respectively and earned a call-up to Low’s 27-man provisional Euro 2016 squad, along with rising Bayer Leverkusen star Julian Brandt.
The world champions must remove four players before naming the final squad that will travel to France to challenge for Euro 2016 next month, meaning Sunday’s warm-up offers a chance for any fringe players to stake their claim for a spot in Low’s plans.
And Weigl admits he is already imagining what the opportunity to head to the tournament would be like as he aims to take his exemplary club form onto the international stage.
“You already think about what it would be like to be there,” he said this week. “I’ve experienced so much this season but being here is undoubtedly the highlight. I’m enjoying every minute in training and am trying to learn from the others as well as showcasing my talent.”
Kimmich, a domestic double winner with Bayern this season, added: “We’ve been made to feel very welcome. It’s a great feeling to be here. We’ve played for the youth teams but the national side has always been the dream – now we’re here!
“When you make it into the preliminary squad, you also want to be included in the final selection. It’s great to be able to compete with the best here.”
Slovakia battled to a 3-1 win over Georgia on Friday to extend their unbeaten run to six matches, with Adam Nemec scoring twice in a clinical display.
Head coach Jan Kozak is aware of the difficulty of playing two matches in the space of three days – especially with their Euro 2016 opener against Wales just 15 days away – but he is keen to see as many players as possible pushing for a spot in the final squad.
“It’s not easy to play two games in three days, and that’s why we came here in greater numbers,” he said. “It’s not easy but there’s a chance that all players will get an opportunity.”
Germany goalkeeping coach Andreas Kopke confirmed this week that Bernd Leno would be given his international debut in Augsburg, with Manuel Neuer among a number of senior players set to be rested.
Along with Weigl and Kimmich, Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, Mario Gotze, Lukas Podolski and Marco Reus have all travelled for domestic cup duty in the past week and are unlikely to play 90 minutes. Captain Bastian Schweinsteiger is recovering from a knee injury and Sami Khedira is still working on regaining full fitness after a calf problem.
Miroslav Stoch is a doubt for Slovakia due to a family bereavement, while Tomas Hubocan could get a run-out as he attempts to shake off a nagging fitness concern.