Germany prepares for friendly with Slovenia
23 March 2005
CELJE, SLOVENIA – Germany aim to play like World Cup title contenders on Saturday when they visit Slovenia for a first football friendly between the two nations.
“There is not much time left. That’s why we have to improve in every match,” said coach Juergen Klinsmann on Wednesday.
Assistant Joachim Loew added: “We want to position the team as a World Cup title contender.”
The match in Celje starts the second phase of Germany’s preparations for the World Cup they will host next year.
Klinsmann’s team has been boosted by a recent 2-2 draw against Argentina in which Germany were the better team for most of the game.
Slovenia, meanwhile, are looking for a decent result ahead of their group 5 World Cup qualifier against Belarus on Wednesday next week. Branko Oblak’s team ranks third, tied on points with second-placed Norway, and are looking to make it to a second straight World Cup finals.
“I want to challenge my team in the prestigious match against Germany but at the same time rest them,” said Oblak, whose team’s showing will mainly depend on playmaker Nastja Ceh.
Klinsmann’s team got little rest as the 19 players selected for Saturday’s match took Wednesday afternoon off after the completion of an extensive two-day fitness test for all World Cup candidates.
Klinsmann has called up Borussia Moenchengladbach striker Oliver Neuville, who, along with Cologne forward Lukas Podolski and Werder Bremen’s Tim Borowski, is fighting for what could be a last chance to make the squad for the Confederations Cup in June.
None of the three are expected to start, though, but Christian Schulz from champions Bremen is set to play from the kickoff at left back as a replacement for the injured Philipp Lahm.
“We don’t want too much rotation in the team, we want to win the match,” said Loew.
Oliver Kahn returns between the posts while the established striking duo of Miroslav Klose and Kevin Kuranyi will be looking to provide the goals necessary for victory.
Christian Woerns and Fabian Ernst will get a rest and not make the trip while Gerald Asamoah is missing with injury.
“We want to play attacking football and dictate a high pace,” said Klinsmann.
Germany will train in Frankfurt on Thursday and depart for Slovenia on Friday.
The game is the ninth under the reign of Klinsmann, who succeeded Rudi Voeller last summer. Germany have only lost one of eight games under the former Germany captain, last December in South Korea.
Subject: German news