Germany and Poland have drawn 0-0 in an international friendly billed as a World Cup warm-up. In truth, given the available players, the preparations were more for Russia 2018, rather than Brazil next month.
Joachim Löw, hardly a stranger to youth or experimentation, played surely the youngest and least tested team of his eight years in charge. No fewer than 12 uncapped players, rated individually by DW here, took to the field at the Imtech-Arena against Poland on Tuesday. The last time 11 new-boys represented Germany was in 1908 - and they were all debutants by default; it was Germany's first ever international game.
"I had fun today as well because we had a number of new players. Our young lads did a really good job today. They were well organized and tried to go forward. They were able to play the way we asked," Löw said after the game.
The average age of Germany's starting eleven was less than 22 with the captain on the night, Julian Draxler, just 20. Ron-Robert Zieler, at 25 between the sticks, was the oldest German on the pitch, all-but ready for his pension and some warm cocoa by Tuesday night's standards. Zieler was also one of just three national team starters born into a divided Germany.
The game in Hamburg could not match such remarkable statistics. With Poland also nowhere near full strength, due in large part to Saturday's German Cup final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, neither side enjoyed many solid chances.
Volland hopeful, Löw set to decide
Kevin Volland, one genuine World Cup hopeful in the mix, looked isolated at times up front, unable to score a goal on his senior debut.
"The Poles kept things tight in the middle, always had a man on me, it was a tough night," Volland said on ZDF public television after the game. One of the 30 hopefuls for the World Cup, Volland said he was "happy to have played his first national team game" and that he would "wait and see what comes" in June.
An all-Schalke trio of Draxler, Max Meyer and Leon Goretzka started in attacking midfield behind Volland.
One of Draxler's corners provided Germany's best chance of the game, but right-back Antonio Rüdiger's header was cleared off the line by Cologne's Slawomir Peszko.
Despite some flashes of good play, the German side struggled in the final third of the pitch throughout, often failing to find the final pass. Volland and substitute left-back Christian Günther both had penalty appeals turned down, but replays supported referee David Fernandez Borbalan's decisions. Poland's threats to the German goal were even fewer and further between.
Löw confirmed after the match that his list of 30 would be shortened further, if not to the ultimate goal of 23, ahead of the team's departure to its training camp in South Tyrol on May 21.
"We'll sit down and discuss in the next few hours who will be joining us in the training camp. We'll talk to the players tonight," Löw said.
New defensive duo
Matthias Ginter looked assured starting in central defense, himself with just a brief substitute appearance to his name in a Germany jersey. But his partner in the back-line, Shkodran Mustafi, was the most unfamiliar face of the night for German fans.
Mustafi had never played a professional game on German soil prior to Tuesday's friendly at the Imtech-Arena. The Sampdoria regular, who went to Italy after a Merseyside stint with Everton, enjoyed a homecoming in Hamburg on Tuesday - he left the HSV academy in 2009. The 22-year-old's solid performance might not have pleased local fans: Hamburg, who face Greuther Fürth in the relegation playoff first leg on Thursday, often bemoan a lengthy list of youth talents who flew the coop.
Draxler is the only starter from Tuesday's game with even an outside shot of a first-team appearance in 34 days when Germany plays its opening game against Portugal. But even his chances are slim, and Tuesday's performance from the honorary captain will have done little to help his case. Draxler was perhaps Germany's busiest attacker, but often elected a flashy dribble or long-range shot with a simple pass on offer.