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Soccer

Germany vs The Netherlands - an old rivalry

The German national team's friendly against The Netherlands will be challenge for both sides: A high number of injuries on both sides give a headache to both coaches.

Germany's creative playmaker Mesut Özil and star striker Miroslav Klose were the last two to call in sick ahead of Wednesday’s friendly in Amsterdam.

Also missing from the lineup are midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos, who are ill, and defenders Jerome Boateng and Marcel Schmelzer, who suffered injuries in Bundesliga matches over the weekend. Midfielder Sami Khedira and defender Holger Badstuber are also not up to a mid-week standoff.

"It's not ideal, of course," said German team manager Oliver Bierhoff.

Critics have also questioned the decision to compete in an insignificant national friendly in the middle of the Champions League and Europa League competitions.

"There has always been this discussion about the November matches, even back then when I was a player on the national team," said Bierhoff, "however for us it's important to play these friendlies."

German coach Joachim Löw has taken the opportunity to nominate some new youngsters such as Dortmund midfielder Sven Bender, defender Sebastian Jung from Frankfurt and Schalke midfielders Lewis Holtby and Roman Neustädter.

Young defensive midfielders Ilkay Gündogan and Lars Bender, are likely to stand in for missing key players Özil and Kroos.

Fußball Bundesliga 11. Spieltag: SC Freiburg - Hamburger SV am 10.11.2012 im Mage Solar Stadion in Freiburg. Torwart Rene Adler von Hamburg dirigiert seine Mitspieler. Foto: Patrick Seeger/dpa

Keeper Rene Adler has been playing a great season with Hamburg this year

Adler hopes for his chance

Keeper Rene Adler has earned a recall to the Germany squad for the friendly against The Netherlands. Adler's last international appearance was against Sweden on Novemver 17, 2010, almost two years to the day.

The Hamburg goalkeeper has stood out in recent performances on the pitch in the Bundesliga - after a couple of seasons plagued with injury.

"A few months ago I would not have dared to dream of returning to the international stage," said the former number one keeper in reference to the challenges he's faced over the years, "now I'm happy about every minute, every second I can play."

The 27-year-old was forced out of the 2010 World Cup with a rib injury and then last season after right knee surgery. He admitted once considering putting an end to his career.

A classic match against old rivals

The football rivalry between Germany and The Netherlands goes back a long way: To 1974 when the Dutch lost the 1974 FIFA World Cup to West Germany in the final.

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2012_11_12_löw_van_gaal.psd

Joachim Löw and Louis Van Gaal - a duel of big egos

Every German football fan also remembers the scene where Dutch player Frank Rijkaard spat at German striker Rudi Völler during the 1990 World Cup tournament (see picture above).

For newcomers and veteran players alike, the duel in Amsterdam will be a major test. "I expect a lot from this game, it won't be any ordinary friendly match," said German defender Mats Hummels, "this rivalry is just too strong."

"For us it is an important test because we have a whole new team with a new coach and new staff," said Dutch star striker Arjen Robben.

The Dutch are also dealing with injuries: They will be missing their team captain Wesley Sneijder, striker Robin van Persie and their keeper Maarten Stekelenburg.

Germany beat the Dutch 3-0 in the last home friendly in November 2011 and also prevailed, 2-1, when the sides met again in the Euro 2012 group stage. And Duch coach Louis van Gaal is keen to see a victory again.

In 2010 he coached the German Bundesliga record champions Bayern Munich winning the championship and the German Cup.

Earlier this week he lashed out at Joachim Löw pointing out that he had not managed to win a single title with the national squad since he took over in 2006. Löw retaliated pointing out that the Dutch had not even managed to qualify for the World Cup back then.

The game against The Netherlands in Amsterdam is Germany's final match of a the year.

Please follow our coverage on Twitter @dw_sports Wednesday evening starting19:30 UTC.

DW.DE

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