Summary

  • Three debutants in Löw’s squad.
  • All players are under 30.
  • Klose joins coaching team.

Coach Joachim Löw has taken Germany’s trip to San Marino for a FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifier as an opportunity to try out some fresh faces. Three young Bundesliga starlets could get their first cap, and a goalscoring legend joins him on the coaches’ bench.

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Germany’s drive to defend their World Cup title reaches its next stop in San Marino on Friday. The microstate near Italy’s Adriatic coast has just over 30,000 inhabitants; the last time their national side played Germany, Löw’s men walked away 13-0 winners. A good time, perhaps, to risk trying a few new things.

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Löw has taken that chance with both hands. He’s called in three new players to the squad, brought back a further four who have three caps or fewer, and despite losing a string of players to injury for the match (Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Julian Brandt, Toni Kroos) he has declined to bring more players in. The group he’s got suits him.

It’s an opportune time to rely on the strength of Germany’s youth. The Bundesliga is turning out players of international class as never before. Newcomers to die Mannschaft like SV Werder Bremen’s Serge Gnabry, Yannick Gerhardt of VfL Wolfsburg, and Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s Benjamin Henrichs have shown great promise, and now will have their chance to show what they can do on the senior international stage.

A few other players may not be far behind. SC Freiburg’s Maximilian Philipp and Timo Werner of RB Leipzig have shown they have an eye for goal - each has scored five thus far in the Bundesliga this season. Defenders like Niklas Süle of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and the Hertha Berlin duo of Mitchell Weiser and Niklas Stark have been making a case for themselves as well.

The Germany side that takes the pitch on Friday night will also be backed up by a new face on the touchline. After calling time on his superlative playing career, Germany’s all-time goalscoring king Miroslav Klose has taken on a role with Löw’s coaching team.

Miroslav Klose makes his coaching debut as an assistant in the San Marino match. © gettyimages

Klose is just beginning his career as a coach; the humble ex-striker has described his role as something akin to an internship. Still, his presence is being felt.

“We have enormous respect for him, and we’re very happy to see him again,” said Mats Hummels of FC Bayern München. “As a player he always had the team’s success in mind - not just his own role. I’m sure that’s how he’ll approach this too.”

With 137 Germany caps, Klose has experience that can’t help but shine through. All the better that he gets to help mould an especially young squad in Germany’s final World Cup Qualifier of 2016.