Germany’s UEFA EURO 2016 preparations begin in earnest on Saturday when they host England at Berlin’s Olympiastadion (kick-off 20:45CET/19:45GMT).
The clash with the Three Lions - the first of two high-profile friendlies for Die Nationalmannschaft in the coming days - gives head coach Joachim Löw the opportunity to experiment with some of the lesser experienced members of his 27-man squad, with the likes of Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s Jonathan Tah set to be given game-time in the capital.
Götze to feature
Löw has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the encounter and hinted during Friday’s pre-match press conference that Mario Götze, who only recently returned to action for FC Bayern München following a serious groin injury, will feature against Roy Hodgson’s side.
"The plan is to bring him on [from the bench] against England and start him against Italy [on Tuesday]," Löw said of Germany’s 2014 World Cup hero, who last featured for his country in a 1-0 EURO 2016 qualifying defeat to the Republic of Ireland in October. "I had a long talk with him on Friday. I hope he features prominently for Bayern during their run-in."
Löw predicts free-flowing contest
Löw was also full of praise for 1. FC Köln’s Jonas Hector, the only natural left-back in his 27-man selection. "He trains and works the way I expect all my players to," he said. "He’s been playing in midfield for Köln, but that’s obviously difficult in the national team. He’s our first-choice left-back at the moment but we have other players who can play in that position. We also need to experiment at right-back: [Matthias] Ginter, [Sebastian] Rudy and [Benedikt] Höwedes can all play there.“
Despite insisting he is eager to extend Germany’s winning run over England to three games, Löw admitted a good performance from his players is more important than victory in Berlin. "England have improved a lot under Roy Hodgson. His teams are usually very well organised and it’ll be difficult to score against them," the 56-year-old opined.
"Of course we want to win every game, but first and foremost we need to play well and I need to get a clearer picture of certain things. Both teams will be looking to attack - it’s going to be an interesting game."
Germany: Neuer - Can, Rüdiger, Hummels, Hector - Khedira, Kroos - Müller, Özil, Reus - Gomez
Absentees: Schweinsteiger (ligaments), Boateng (groin)
England: Butland - Clyne, Smalling, Cahill, Rose - Dier, Henderson - Lallana, Alli, Welbeck - Kane
Absentees: Bertrand (calf)