Benedikt Höwedes, Bernd Leno to start for Germany against Italy | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 14.11.2016
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Benedikt Höwedes, Bernd Leno to start for Germany against Italy

Germany coach Joachim Löw has confirmed that Benedikt Höwedes will come in for the injured Jerome Boateng against Italy. Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno will get his first start since May.

German national team coach Joachim Löw said on Monday that Benedikt Höwedes (pictured above) will start alongside Mats Hummels in the heart of Germany's defense in their friendly against Italy in Milan Tuesday night.

The Schalke central defender has been no stranger to Löw's teams over the years and comes into the starting 11 to replace the injured Bayern Munich defender, Jerome Boateng. This will be the 28-year-old's first start for the national team since Germany's 2-0 defeat to France in the semifinals of Euro 2016.

Aside from the two central defenders, Löw also confirmed that Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno will start in goal after Barcelona shot-stopper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen played in the 8-0 win over San Marino. First-choice keeper Manuel Neuer pulled out of the squad for this international break due to illness. This will be Leno's first start for Germany since their friendly against Slovakia in May of this year.

"I've thought a lot about the players' workload. None of them will return to their clubs overstrained," Löw told reporters at the prematch press conference in Milan. "Every player is ready to play; Bernd Leno will start in goal; Benedikt Höwedes will be alongside Mats Hummels."

Höwedes takes the place of young midfielder-turned-defender Joshua Kimmich, who'll likely not be the only member of the youthful side that played against San Marino to find himself on the bench on Tuesday, as Löw looks to his more experienced players against Italy. 

One senior player who may miss the game is Wolfsburg striker Mario Gomez, who suffered a bruised thigh in Friday's match. "Should Mario Gomez have any problems we won't take a risk," said Löw. Meanwhile fellow Wolves teammate Yannick Gerhardt is set to make his debut at left-back. 

Although Germany have beaten the Azzurri both of their last two encounters, including a 6-5 win on penalties in the quarterfinals of Euro 2016, Löw expects to face a typically well-organized Italian team. 

"We are expecting a very well tactically set-up Italy side tomorrow," Löw said ahead of what surely be a hugely competitive clash, despite being a friendly, as well as Germany's final game of 2016.