Shaken by its frightening experience in Paris, Germany meets the Netherlands in a subdued mood and amid heightened security, with the emphasis more on the message against terror than on football.
The Stade de France came under attack by suicide bombers during the friendly between France and Germany as a wave of attacks across Paris killed more than 120 on Friday. The friendly went ahead despite explosions outside the stadium.
After the 2-0 loss, the German team spent the night at the stadium before flying home on Saturday morning. Germany coach Joachim Loew sent his players home and the team did not reassemble again until one day before Tuesday’s match in Hannover.
The German federation decided to go ahead with the friendly as a gesture of solidarity and a message against terror. Chancellor Angela Merkel and some of her ministers are expected to attend the match.
“We must not give way to terror. We are resistant,” acting German federation president Rainer Koch said.
Loew said, “Football was now in the background.” Germany’s team manager Oliver Bierhoff said the match was a signal of solidarity with the “French people and the relatives of the victims.”
Authorities stepped up security around the match but would not give details.
Normally, the Dutch team could have expected a hostile reception with spiteful gloating from German fans on its failure to qualify for next year’s European Championship in France.
The German fans love to poke fun at Dutch mishaps but the atmosphere this time is likely to be more sombre.
Germany has a good record against the Dutch, with 15 wins in the previous 40 matches, 10 defeats and 15 draws.
LAST CHANCE FOR GOMEZ
The match could be the last chance for striker Mario Gomez to secure a ticket for next year’s tournament in France. Gomez made his comeback in Paris but failed to leave a big impression in a pale German performance.
Loew has dropped six players from his squad in Paris.
Captain Bastian Schweinsteiger, goalkeeper Manuekl Neuer and forward Lukas Podolski are being rested, while defenders Jerome Boateng and Jonas Hector picked up injuries against France. Forward Leroy Sane has been sent to Under-21 duty.
With no competitive matches until qualification for the 2018 World Cup begins, Netherlands coach Danny Blind has time to experiment with his team’s playing style.
After he took over from Guus Hiddink midway through the team’s disastrous qualification campaign for the 2016 European Championship, Blind stuck to the traditional Dutch system of four defenders, three midfielders and three attackers.
That system, the foundation of flowing Dutch “total football,” backfired as the Netherlands failed to qualify for Euro 2016. On Friday, Blind reverted to the 5-3-2 style adopted by Louis van Gaal at last year’s World Cup when the Netherlands reached the semifinal thanks to its pragmatic playing style built around rock-solid defence and quick counter attacks.
The defence still looked shaky, leaking two goals against an understrength Wales team without stars Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale, but Arjen Robben’s two goals saved Blind’s blushes as the Dutch prevailed 3-2.
One thing is almost certain when the Netherlands takes the pitch against Germany- A Bundesliga striker will lead the Dutch attack.
With all-time top scorer Robin van Persie out of form and out of favor, coach Danny Blind is likely to start with either Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar or Wolfsburg’s Bas Dost.
Another of Blind’s attacking options, PSV Eindhoven captain Luuk de Jong, spent two unsuccessful seasons at Borussia Moenchengladbach.
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