Experimental Germany kick-off World Cup preparations
Germany begin their final preparations for the World Cup on Tuesday in Hamburg as an experimental side faces neighbours Poland in the first of three friendlies.
Coach Joachim Loew has included just 10 of the players named in his provisional World Cup squad last week, with the remaining 20 absent due to ongoing club commitments.
Seven Bayern Munich players and six from Borussia Dortmund are missing with their clubs meeting in the German Cup final in Berlin next Saturday, while Marcell Jansen is preparing for a relegation play-off with his side Hamburg and six more foreign-based players still have club commitments to honour.
Instead, Loew will give a chance to a number of young talents against a Poland side who will themselves be deprived of Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski.
"The result will not be important," declared Loew after announcing a squad featuring the likes of Borussia Moenchengladbach duo Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Christoph Kramer and Eintracht Frankfurt's Sebastian Jung, none of whom will go to Brazil.
"Most of the players are young, have just left school or have just finished their first season in the Bundesliga.
"This is a chance for them to show what they can do and experience the international atmosphere, and why not book their place on the plane to Brazil."
That last message was aimed at others, such as 21-year-old Hoffenheim striker Kevin Volland and Schalke's teenage duo Leon Goretzka and Maximilian Meyer, who have been named in the provisional World Cup squad, to show that they deserve to make the final cut.
The squad will be cut to 25 or 26 players on Wednesday before later being reduced to the definitive 23.
Volland, who has scored 11 goals and set up nine more this season, appears better-placed than most of the Bundesliga's young talents with Loew lacking back-up in attack to the veteran Lazio striker Miroslav Klose.
But Loew added: "Those who don't make it (to the World Cup), are certainly in our thoughts for 2016 (the European Championship in France) and 2018 (the World Cup in Russia)."
After the game against Poland, who will not go to the World Cup but will face Germany again in Euro 2016 qualifying, the coach will hope to get experienced midfielders Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger back to full fitness.
Khedira, of Real Madrid, is only just returning from a serious knee injury suffered in November while Bayern's Schweinsteiger hurt himself playing against Stuttgart on the final day of the Bundesliga season on Saturday.
The reduced German squad will depart for a training camp in the Italian Alps on May 21 before returning to meet Cameroon in a friendly in Moenchengladbach on June 1.
After that game, Loew will name his final 23-man squad, and then there will be one last friendly against Armenia in Mainz on June 6 before Germany head to Brazil.
The three-time world champions were drawn in Group G at the World Cup alongside Portugal, Ghana and the United States, who are coached by former Germany star Jurgen Klinsmann.
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