Germany face France in their final game of 2017, but Joachim Löw is worried about the performance, not the result. Changes were expected and announced, including the return of Kevin Trapp in goal.
In Germany's final game of the year, head coach Joachim Löw has confirmed Toni Kroos, Kevin Trapp and Sami Khedira will return to the starting line-up. Mario Götze is also expected to play his first game in a year as the defending World Cup champions face France in Cologne.
"They were good in 2014, better in 2016 and now they've taken another step forward," Löw said of France at the press conference ahead of the game. Since the defeat to France last summer, Germany are unbeaten in their last 19 matches.
Keeping the French's star-studded attacking force at bay will be the biggest test for Germany. "I'm curious to see if our defenders can contain him," PSG's Julian Draxler said of club teammate and French star Kylian Mbappe.
Germany, though, have attacking weapons of their own - none more in-form at the moment than Leroy Sané. "He gained some physicality in the Premier League. He's more consistent now and made a big step forward," Löw said of a player he wished hadn't been kept out of the Confederations Cup squad through injury.
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The game also offers Löw one of the last opportunities to test players and tactics ahead of the tournament in Russia - Germany only have two more friendlies (against Spain and Brazil) after the France game. Experimenting is "what these games are for" according to Löw, which means Germany may well continue testing a formation with three central defenders.
"I want to establish an error culture in friendlies. We can make mistakes, learn from them and correct them," said Löw. The result is of less importance for the Germany head coach, as he looks to whittle down his plethora of options so as to select the right squad next summer.
"We can be happy that we have a group of 30 players that could go to a World Cup," Toni Kroos said ahead of the game. The Real Madrid man will be at the heart of that, but who features with him is something Löw will decide over the next few months - and performances in games like this one will help.