Rising star Mario Goetze will make his first start for Germany in Wednesday's friendly against five-time FIFA World Cup™ winners Brazil, German coach Joachim Low said on Tuesday.
The 19-year-old will be winning his seventh cap, but will start for the first time as Germany look for their first win over the South Americans since 1993. "Mario will start," Low confirmed at a press conference with both Real Madrid stars Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira having been left out of the German squad after touring the US and China with the Spanish giants.
"He is a player who brings a lot to the game, who finds solutions on the pitch," he went on. "He has an intuition when he has the ball and also when he doesn't. Mario has a good chance to show what he can do from the start, especially with Mesut Ozil not here."
Low's Germany are ten points clear at the top of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying group and are set to book their place later this autumn with further qualifiers against Austria and Turkey. The German coach says he plans to use all six of his permitted substitutions on Wednesday night as his team start a season which will end at EURO 2012 in Ukraine and Poland.
After reaching the final of EURO 2008, and finishing third at last year's FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the Germans are making no secret of their ambition to win the upcoming European showpiece. "This is a great start to a European Championship season and one of a few friendly matches we have before the Euros," said the 51-year-old Low. "We want to use these games to take another step forward, especially to give our young and talented players some experience of playing at this level. We are extremely anxious to take the next step, after narrowly missing out in the past, so are happy to play against such strong opponents."
Goetze's club side Borussia Dortmund are the reference point in Germany just now, but Low's line-up is expected to be dominated by Bayern Munich players, with seven men from the Bavarian giants in line to start. Manuel Neuer will play in goal, with national team captain Philipp Lahm at left-back, Jerome Boateng in central defence, and both Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos in midfield. Thomas Mueller and last season's Bundesliga top scorer Mario Gomez should complete the Bavarian seven.
Much has been written in Germany about Neuer, who capped his Bundesliga debut for Bayern last Sunday with a second-half blunder which allowed Borussia Moenchengladbach to poach a 1-0 win in Munich. "He is a very stable character and something like this won't affect him," said Bayern and Germany team-mate Schweinsteiger.
Meanwhile, Low revealed he has heard nothing from former captain Michael Ballack, who had been offered the chance to join the squad as a gesture having lost his place in the team after suffering an ankle injury in the run-up to last year's world finals. Ballack, who turns 35 next month, has already been told by Low that his international days are over having made the last of his 98 appearances for Germany in the 1-0 defeat to Argentina in Munich in March 2010. "I haven't spoken to him and my stand point hasn't changed," said Low. "It was an honorary offer from us."
Germany have not beaten Brazil since a 2-1 win in Cologne in 1993, one of only three victories compared to 12 for the South Americans with five draws. The last meeting between the sides was in June 2005, when Brazil beat the Germans 3-2 in the semifinal of the FIFA Confederations Cup in Nuremberg.