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Adler, Others to be Tested in Germany-Norway Friendly

The result doesn't count, but individual players' performances when Germany meet Norway could determine whether they'll make the final cut for 2010. The squad's young goalkeeper is under particularly strong pressure.

Rene Adler reacts to England scoring a goal

Adler's last national outing was a 2-1 loss to England

With Germany well on their way to qualifying for the World Cup next year, relative newcomers to the squad are especially keen on showing their stuff and booking their place in the tournament in South Africa.

Not surprisingly, Germany coach Joachim Loew has included a number of younger players -- Andreas Beck, Serdar Tasci, Mesut Oezil and Marko Marin -- in the squad for the Norway game in Duesseldorf on Wednesday, February 11.

Most of them will begin on the bench, as Loew has decided to start with veterans like Michael Ballack and Torsten Frings, despite both midfielders' criticism of him last year.

But one relative newcomer who will definitely be on the pitch -- and under observation -- is 24-year-old goalkeeper Rene Adler.

Despite his youth, the prodigy Leverkusen player was elevated to the number-one spot after Jens Lehmann retired from the national team following the 2008 European Championship.

But a series of dodgy performances -- including Leverkusen's 4-2 home loss to Stuttgart on the weekend -- have led many to question whether Adler is ready for the international prime time.

Loew has said Adler will play all 90 minutes. And the coach will surely be watching to see how he reacts, if Norway are able to generate any serious offensive pressure.

A second chance

Germany's Piotr Trochowski celebrates

The youngsters will try to emulate Trochowski and break into the starting eleven

Starting up front will be the player who put two of those goals past Adler on Saturday -- Stuttgart striker Mario Gomez.

Gomez seriously disappointed expectations at Euro 2008 and had an indifferent first half of the season in the Bundesliga. But he's raised his game enough of late to justify his inclusion in the starting eleven at the expense of Leverkusen's Patrick Helmes and Stefan Kiessling.

Gomez will be paired with Miroslav Klose, but the two have never shown that they gel at all as an attacking duo.

But all of the strikers in Wednesday's squad will be hoping to exploit the absence of German national team mainstay Lukas Podolski, who's currently sidelined with injury and unlikely to get much playing time at his soon-to-be ex-club Bayern.

Germany continues their quest to qualify for the World Cup with qualifiers against Liechtenstein on March 28 and Wales on April 1.

A stand-out performance in any of those matches could be enough to convince Loew -- just look at midfielder Piotr Trochowski.

After scoring the lone goal in Germany's narrow win over Wales last October, he seems to have cemented a place on the national team for 2010.

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