Berlin (AFP) – Germany coach Hansi Flick is set to experiment in forthcoming friendlies against Israel and the Netherlands as he seeks alternatives to injured players with an eye on the looming World Cup.
Eight months before the World Cup kicks off in Qatar, Germany hosts Israel in Sinsheim on March 26, then face the Dutch in Amsterdam three days later in a clash of the European giants.
Flick is missing injured first-choice players Leon Goretzka, Marco Reus, Robin Gosens and Niklas Suele, but wants to experiment – “If not now, when?” – and has called up Anton Stach of Mainz for the first time.
There are high hopes of the defensive midfielder, who was part of the German squad which won the European Under-21 title last year.
Flick has won all of his first seven games in charge since replacing Joachim Loew last September.
He has also recalled Chelsea striker Timo Werner, Julian Draxler of Paris Saint Germain, as well as Benfica midfielder Julian Weigl, fleet-footed Benjamin Henrichs of RB Leipzig and Leeds United defender Robin Koch.
The loss of Bayern Munich centre back Suele with a leg injury is a blow to Flick’s plans.
“That hurts,” admitted Flick who said uncapped Freiburg defender Nico Schlotterbeck is set to be given a chance “if he stays fit, he will play his first international” alongside Chelsea defender Antonio Ruediger.
There is no place for Dortmund’s quartet of Julian Brandt, Emre Can, Mahmoud Dahoud and Mats Hummels.
The Germany squad will go into camp on Monday after being tested for Covid.
“We’re fired up, but we expect everyone to take it up a notch,” Flick warned.
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