There will be 2010 FIFA World Cup™ places up for grabs on Wednesday in Hamburg when Germany coach Joachim Low gives members of his squad their chance to shine in the final qualifier against Finland.
Germany have already booked their passage to South Africa 2010 having beating Russia 1-0 in Moscow last Saturday while Finland are merely playing for pride now. "We cannot take our foot off the gas now," said Low.
"We want to offer something and reward the enthusiasm of our fans. It is important that we conclude this World Cup campaign with a good result."
Hoffenheim defender Andreas Beck and Hamburg midfielder Piotr Trochowski will both start while Stuttgart's Brazil-born striker Cacau will partner Bayern Munich's Mario Gomez up front. Captain Michael Ballack is battling to be fit, but defender Jerome Boateng, who made his debut in Moscow, will be suspended for the Hamburg match after being sent off on Saturday.
"All the players want to play and Michael Ballack has made it absolutely clear he wants to be involved," said team manager Oliver Bierhoff. Germany have dropped just two points in their nine qualifiers to date and both went begging in Helsinki last September when only a hat-trick from Bayern Munich's striker Miroslav Klose sealed a 3-3 draw against Finland.
Stuart Baxter's side beat Wales 2-1 in Helsinki last Saturday but are third in Group 4 behind second-placed Russia and qualification is out of the question for the Scandinavians. Leverkusen defender Sami Hyypia looks set to skipper the side while Low looks set to experiment with his squad with fringe players like defender Marcel Schaefer set to play.
Midfielders Thomas Hitzlsperger and Simon Rolfes will start while Stuttgart's Sami Khedira is set to be on the bench. Germany play friendlies next month against Chile, in Cologne, and Egypt, in Gelsenkirchen, and Low will name his FIFA World Cup squad in May next year, a month before the tournament begins.
"In games like these, there is the possibility of experimenting to see if there is the possibility of them coping with a tournament like the World Cup," said Low. The national coach added Bayern Munich's promising midfielder Thomas Mueller, who only turned 20 last month, looks set to be involved in November's friendlies.