BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany coach Joachim Loew has said he will experiment with his team when they take on England in a friendly on Friday, as the world champions prepare for their title defence next year.
Loew, who led Germany to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, said he still wanted to see some players in the last two friendlies of the year at Wembley and against France on Tuesday before entering the final phase of preparations next year.
”We want to play well and a result is an important issue,“ Loew told reporters on Thursday. ”But I want to experiment a bit. We still have a few games to prepare until the World Cup.
“It is a bit of a test phase still this year. With the tournament in mind I want to see not only those players who play regularly.”
Loew has a lot of options with more than three dozen players in the running for his World Cup squad. One of those who will benefit on Friday is newcomer and RB Leipzig defender Marcel Halstenberg.
“I am planning with him from the start. I took Marcel Halstenberg with us for that reason. He has been playing very well at Leipzig. He is good in the air, a strong physical player,” Loew said.
The Germans will be without some of their World Cup winners, with keeper Manuel Neuer and Jerome Boating out injured.
Midfielder Toni Kroos, who missed training with a stomach virus on Wednesday, only took part in the team warmup on Thursday and his participation is still in doubt.
“Toni was ill and today he only warmed up because he is still a bit weak from the stomach virus,” Loew said.
“We will have to see how it develops. I will not risk anything. It could be that he is rested. If he does feel 100 percent he could get a break for a game because he plays constantly, every three days throughout the season.”
Germany, winners of the Confederations Cup in July, are favourites to defend their World Cup title next year in Russia, having breezed through qualification with 10 wins from 10 matches to top their group.
Loew has also scheduled high-calibre friendly internationals against Spain and Brazil next year.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Toby Davis