German coach Joachim Löw has named the majority of his starters for a friendly with Ecuador in advance. With Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund stars busy, new faces will get a run - like debutante Max Kruse up front.
Joachim Löw somewhat unusually let eight of 11 cats out of the bag on Tuesday, a day ahead of Germany's friendly with Ecuador in Boca Raton, Florida. The national team coach only left his attacking midfield trio in doubt, naming the remainder of his starters ahead of the game.
Freiburg's top attacking performer in their impressive Bundesliga campaign, Max Kruse, will be granted his Germany debut up front. The Borussia Mönchengladbach-bound attacker finished the season with 11 league goals and seven assists, after moving to Freiburg from relegated St Pauli last summer.
Behind Kruse, Roman Neustädter of Schalke will don the German senior shirt for just the second time in his career, playing alongside Bayer Leverksuen's Lars Bender in defensive midfield.
Schalke captain Benedikt Höwedes, Arsenal's Per Mertesacker, and Hamburg duo Heiko Westermann and Marcell Jansen will make up the German back four - with a third Hamburg player, Rene Adler, keeping goal.
"I'll have to think a little more about who will play behind the striker," Löw said in the pre-match press conference on Tuesday, promising, however, that "all the players will get their chance over these two games." After Ecuador, Germany will face the US on June 2.
Owing to the Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, and the German Cup final between Bayern and Stuttgart on Saturday, Löw has taken a radically revamped squad on the end-of-season US trip. Along with Kruse, Mainz's Nicolai Müller and the Leverkusen double act of Sidney Sam and Philipp Wollscheid have earned their first ever senior call-ups for Germany.
"The new boys have made a very, very good impression," Löw said. "Wollscheid's strength with his head, Müller's showing a great eye for goal and Kruse is a really clever, refined player while Sam is great running with the ball."
German sports news agency SID predicted that the most likely trio to fill the remaining German holes were Andre Schürrle, Julian Draxler and Lukas Podolski – three players that might usually expect a Germany call-up, even when Bayern and Dortmund's legions are available. Draxler and Podolski were both considered doubtful, but Löw said on Tuesday that everybody was available to play. Müller, Sam and Werder Bremen's Aaron Hunt could also fill the attacking midfield spots.
Löw kept his choice of captain under wraps. Höwedes wears the armband at club level, as did Heiko Westermann not so long ago, while Arsenal teammates Mertesacker and Podolski are the most-capped members of the re-jigged German squad.