Prove yourselves, German stars told for French test


Germany coach Joachim Loew has told his side to prove themselves in Tuesday’s international friendly against France as part of the defending champions’ preparations for next year’s World Cup. Security will be tight in Cologne as the friendly takes place almost two years to the day since the Paris terror attacks of November 13 2015, when 130 people were killed and over 400 were injured.

On that night, three suicide bombers set off devices at the Stade de France during a France v Germany friendly and the shocked German players had to spend the night at the stadium during a security crackdown. However, all the pre-match focus in Cologne is on the football with Loew having held back first-choice midfielders Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos from Friday’s goalless draw against England at Wembley.

Loew treated his squad to a speedboat ride down the Thames after holding England at Wembley, but the players were all business in a high-tempo training session in Cologne on Sunday. Loew has said he will again field an experimental line-up. “I want to see if certain players can prove themselves against the best,” said Loew.

The Germans came through their World Cup qualifying campaign with a perfect record of ten wins. To ensure they face stiff tests before the World Cup kicks off in Moscow next June, the Germans will also face Spain and Brazil in friendlies next March after their final match of 2017 against the French.

“We have to counter-attack faster after we win the ball with more attacking impetus, which we failed to do (against England),” said Loew. “It is important that we put that back into our game. “We have missed out on playing fast and we have to learn that again. “Against opponents like this, you have to break out and follow your attacks through.”

The friendly is unlikely to be a sell-out with just over 30,000 of the 45,000 available tickets sold. France are missing Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud, who picked up a thigh strain in Friday’s 2-0 win over Wales, while Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele and Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba are also sidelined.

Germany are without Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng, who also sat out the draw against England with a muscle injury. The Germans are unbeaten in their last 19 matches, dating back to their 2-0 defeat against France in the semi-finals of the 2016 European championships when Antoine Griezmann scored both goals in Marseille.


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