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Sports

Löw calls up three uncapped players for San Marino qualifier, Italy friendly

Germany head coach Joachim Löw has called up three uncapped players for the World Cup qualifier against San Marino on Friday. The world champions face Italy in a friendly four days later.

A statement released by the DFB (German football association) on Friday revealed that coach Löw has invited Yannick Gerhardt of Wolfsburg, Werder Bremen's Serge Gnabry and Benjamin Henrichs of Bayer Leverkusen to join the national team for the first time.

The statement also said that Mesut Özil had been left out of the squad to give the Arsenal midfielder a chance to recharge his  batteries, while Real Madrid's Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira of Juventus would probably only play in the qualifier against San Marino next Friday.

"We are taking the last qualifier of the year just as seriously as we took the three previous matches," Löw said. "At the same, time we always want to give young players an opportunity to show what they can do. This time, we want to take a look at Serge Gnabry, Yannick Gerhardt and Benjamin Henrichs, who we already know from the under-21s."

Notable omissions are Leroy Sane of Manchester City, who has been named to the under-21 squad, as well as Dortmund's Andre Schürrle and Antonio Rüdiger of AS Roma, who have both just returned from injury.

Löw said Germany were determined to get a "clear win" against San Marino, for whom playing against the World Cup champions is "something special."

The following Tuesday Germany face Italy in a friendly in Milan. This will be the third time the two teams have faced each other this year, following an exhibition match in Munich in March, which Germany won 4-1, and their European championship quarterfinal in Bordeaux in July, which Germany won 6-5 in a penalty shootout.

"Italy is one of the great footballing nations, with whom we have a great sporting rivalry," Löw said. "These are games that you always look forward to, there is a lot of prestige on the line."

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