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France v Germany: LIVE Video Stream
Updated published : 06 Feb 2013 17:13:43
Two of European football's heavyweights clash in an international friendly in Paris on Wednesday night and, although only pride is at stake, both nations are keen to start the new calendar year with a win.
France coach Didier Deschamps is without young Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane, who pulled out of Wednesday's international friendly following his impressive performance in last week's Clasico.
When asked by a French journalist why Germany always seem to stumble when they meet the great nations, Joachim Low rolled up his sleeves and pre-empted tomorrow's battle at the Stade de France.
"We are currently the world number two," he said. "Maybe we have not yet landed the ultimate blow, but let's not forget that Spain's team of the century has crossed our path.
Further improvements are what Low will be looking for tomorrow, although his hopes of ending a trend of poor results in February have suffered a blow with the withdrawal of five members of his original 23-man party.
Bastian Schweinsteiger, Miroslav Klose, Mario Gotze, Marco Reus and Marcel Schmelzer are key members of his usual starting XI too, but Low has played down the significance of an enforced reshuffle.
Much of the credit for France's recent upturn in form has to go to their coach Didier Deschamps, whose side are winning over the French public after more unsavoury events had carved a gulf between them.
"There were plenty of worries before our games against Spain and Italy, but now, there is an optimism brewing," he said.
Deschamps has fewer team selection problems and has the luxury of choosing between Bacary Sagna and Mathieu Debuchy for a place at right full-back, while the game will also present an intriguing battle between Bayern Munich team mates Ribery and Philipp Lahm.