German head coach Joachim Löw is planning to use his team's last friendly prior to Euro 2012 to do some tweaking. He also hopes a result against Israel will help them put a defeat against Switzerland behind them.
Now that the 23-man squad for next month's Euro 2012 squad has been finalized, Germany coach Joachim Löw has the task of deciding which starting XI he wants to begin the tournament with.
Thursday's friendly against Israel in Leipzig will be coach Löw's last chance to observe his players in a game situation before the squad heads to the hotel near Gdansk that will serve as Germany's tournament base.
A number of starting positions are still up for grabs and Löw is expected to use the game against Israel, who are ranked 58th in the world, to experiment with his line-up.
"I see the game as a test, to try out this or that. A good result is desirable, it would help give the team a boost," Löw told reporters at Germany's training camp at Tourettes in the south of France on Tuesday. "But things only get really serious next week in Poland."
Getting a good result against Israel would also help the team put behind them last Saturday's 5-3 defeat at the hands of Switzerland, which may have been a factor in Löw's decision to make goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen, who conceded all five goals, one of his final four cuts.
Schweinsteiger still plagued by injury
Even if he wanted to, Löw wouldn't be able to start what he sees as his best 11 on Thursday anyway, as key midfield schemer Bastian Schweinsteiger, who is expected to be in the lineup for Germany's opening game against Portugal on June 9, continues to labor with a bruised calf muscle.
"It makes things more difficult than I thought," Löw said, while at the same time ruling out the possibility of using any player on Thursday who isn't fully fit.
Schweinsteiger is one of eight Bayern Munich players who only arrived in camp on Saturday as they had been involved in the Champions League final against Chelsea a week earlier. The player admitted being bothered by having missed during the penalty shoot-out that decided the final.
"You try to get it out of your head but you keep thinking about it," Schweinsteiger said in an interview with the Bild daily. "It's not easy but if you have a new task it's easier. The European championship is a new start."
Defensive question marks
Another of those Bayern players is the national team captain Philipp Lahm. Löw said he would play at left back against Israel but he could be shifted to the right by the time the Portugal game rolls around.
Another issue to be decided is the central defense after Mats Hummels and Per Mertesacker had their problems in the Swiss game. Also in the mix is Bayern's Holger Badstuber.
"All three play at a very good level as central defenders at the highest level internationally. We are in a position where they all fit well together, no matter who plays." Löw said. "What we need to do now is fine tune those little nuances."
pfd/rc (SID, dpa, Reuters)