Germany's next game in its World Cup preparations will be a friendly against Brazil on Wednesday. But a row over players missing from international duty in favor of club commitments could take the shine off the match.
Germany's nemesis Ronaldo says the ban on players is justified
World Champions Brazil take on Germany in a friendly game in Berlin on Wednesday. The prestigious match carries little importance to the home side other than it represents a chance to exact revenge on the samba stars who ruined their improbable World Cup dream two years ago by beating them 2-0 in Yokohama in the 2002 final.
Germany as hosts for the 2006 World Cup are automatically installed in the tournament while recent rule changes dictate that reigning World Champions Brazil have to qualify for the right to defend their crown. Brazil will be arriving in Germany after completing the South American World Cup qualifier against Bolivia in Sao Paulo. Despite the practice match scenario, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Co. can expect to face stiff opposition in Jürgen Klinsmann's side with a full-strength Germany team expected to take the field as the home nation continues its own preparation for the 2006 World Cup.
Leverkusen stars among those punished
Lucio will miss the Germany game along with team-mate at Bayern Munich Ze Roberto.
However, some of Brazil's most exciting and established players will not be on view. The five players who did not play in Brazil's friendly international in Haiti on the August 18 will miss both the Bolivia and Germany games. AC Milan players Cafu, Kaka and Dida, along with Bayer Leverkusen's Lucio (photo) and Ze Roberto have been punished by the Brazilian football federation (CBF) for not appearing in Brazil's 6-0 victory at Port-au-Prince. The stars were absent after not being released by their clubs for the Haiti game.
Real Madrid star Ronaldo supported the decision saying that the CBF wanted to preserve the honor of those who wear Brazil's green and yellow colors. However, Ronaldo's team mate in the Spanish capital, fellow galactico Roberto Carlos, was not of the same opinion, saying: "The federations and the clubs have to work together." The left back added the five excluded players would have loved to be playing for Brazil.
Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira did not comment directly on the CBF's decision but did say it complicated things as Ronaldinho Gaucho, Juan and Gustavo Nery were all out injured.
Deisler could face wrath of Bayern coach
There could be similar club versus country ructions in Germany ahead of the Brazil friendly as Bayern Munich midfielder Sebastian Deisler looks set to ignore his club coach and return to international soccer in the game in Berlin. Deisler, who missed almost the entire season last term through injury and depression, went public on his desire to return for Germany against Brazil on 8th September, setting himself on collision course with Bayern boss Felix Magath.
"Basically, I would really like to play against Brazil. That would be a great return," he said. "If I'm to gain practice, every match is important. If I'm called, I will drive there."
Magath believes his player should not rush things: "Before he returns to the national team, Deisler should first stabilize his performances for the club. He's on the right path, but someone that had problems that long should be built up carefully."
High profile clash a fitting comeback
As well as recovering from three knee operations, the 24 year-old has only recently returned after severe depression kept him out of club football for much of last season. He has not played for the national team since September 2003 but he has been in good form this year and sees the high profile clash against the World Champions in Berlin as a perfect comeback match.
German coach Jürgen Klinsmann is an admirer of Deisler and has made no secret of the fact that he sees the creative midfielder as a key player in his attempts to rebuild the national side before Germany hosts the World Cup in 2006.