JOACHIM LOEW FIELDS GERMAN DEBUTANTS, AGAINST MESSI-LESS ARGENTINA

In what could easily pass as a replay of the 2014 World Cup final match, Germany and Argentina are set to clash in a friendly match on Thursday in Dortmund.

 But the setting is different as Marcos Rojo, the scorer of the winning goals against Nigeria in 2014 World Cup and 2018 clash in Russia will be the only survivor of the  match.

Argentina will be without their inspirational Lionel Messi. Germany on the other hand will hand out several debutants.

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Like the Germans, Argentina will do without some big names in Dortmund, where only two-thirds of tickets have been sold for the friendly.

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Angel di Maria and Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero have been left out of the Argentina squad, while playmaker and captain Messi is suspended.

The 32-year-old Barcelona superstar is serving a three-month ban after accusing governing body Conmebol of “corruption” at the Copa America, where his team finished third.

The German camp has been forced into a reshuffle with 13 players dropping out for illness or injury.

“It is rare to have so many absences. It will be difficult to expect great things when it comes to the line-up, but you can expect seriousness and commitment,” assured Loew.

“It will be difficult to have high expectations from the team, but they will be engaged and serious because Argentina are tough opponents.”

The 59-year-old admitted wanting to use the match to test out combinations with an eye on Euro 2020, “but we won’t be able to do that now”.

Key midfielders Toni Kroos of Real Madrid and Man City’s Ilkay Guendogan are both injured, while a knee knock means there is a question mark over Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus.

As a result, Loew has called up defender Robin Koch from Freiburg and midfielder Sebastian Rudy, who played a key role in Hoffenheim’s shock 2-1 win at Bayern Munich on Saturday.

With defenders Matthias Ginter, out with a shoulder injury, and Jonathan Tah, who has a cold, also missing, Loew will test new players.

Hertha Berlin defender Niklas Stark will start, as will Freiburg forward Luca Waldschmidt, in for first-choice striker Timo Werner, who also has a cold. Joining the uncapped list are Leverkusen midfielder Nadiem Amiri and Schalke 04 midfielder Suat Serdar.

In the Argentinian camp, coach Lionel Scaloni will be without River Plate and Boca Juniors players involved in the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores.

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