BERLIN (Reuters) - World champions Germany will be far from full strength when they host Brazil in their international friendly on Tuesday, with coach Joachim Loew planning to field a second-string team as he tests ahead of the World Cup.
The last time these two teams, who have won the world title a combined nine times, met was at the 2014 World Cup when Germany stunned the sports world with a 7-1 demolition of hosts Brazil in the semi-final.
But fewer fireworks are expected this time with both nations missing key players and busy tinkering with their preparations for the World Cup in Russia which begins in June.
Brazil, who have lost just once in the 17 matches since coach Tite took over, will be missing injured Neymar while the Germans are without Mesut Ozil, Thomas Mueller and Manuel Neuer among others.
Midfielder Emre Can has also been ruled out with a back injury while Sami Khedira is doubtful after picking up a minor knock against Spain on Friday, Loew said.
Marc Andre ter Stegen, the starting keeper in the absence of Neuer, will also be given a rest.
“Marc will have a break because he has a bit of a knee issue and maybe it is good to have a break for a couple of days,” Loew told reporters.
He also said Marvin Plattenhardt would replace Jonas Hector at full back while Leroy Sane and Ilkay Guendogan would start as Germany aim to equal their unbeaten run of 23 matches dating back from 1978-80.
Loew added the game was more an opportunity to experiment rather than a rematch of four years ago.
“For us that match does not play as big a role as it does in Brazil,” he said. “Disappointment was obviously big, especially as the host nation.
“Now Brazil may have some thoughts of revenge but you cannot really do that because you cannot bring that semi-final back. But Brazil have improved.”
Tite took over in 2016 and apart from a friendly loss to Argentina, his team have gone unbeaten since then.
“They have improved considerably,” said Loew. “They have reinvented themselves in the past two or three years.
“They are very disciplined, they are all defending and their attack is among the best in the world. Even Neymar and Philippe Coutinho — both attacking players — work extremely hard at the back. The coach has succeeded in making them more stable.”
The five-times world champions kick off their World Cup campaign against Switzerland on June 17 before facing Costa Rica and Serbia.
The Germans have been drawn in Group F of the tournament, along with Mexico, South Korea and Sweden.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Christian Radnedge