Loew picks eight WC players for friendly

Germany coach Joachim Loew will rest most of his World Cup players for next week’s friendly in Denmark.

The squad includes eight players who traveled to the World Cup but rarely played. Germany finished third at the tournament in South Africa.

Loew’s 18-man squad does not include captain Michael Ballack, who missed the World Cup because of an ankle injury. Thomas Hitzlsperger returns after being left out of the World Cup.

Wednesday’s match in Copenhagen will be Loew’s first since he extended his contract by two years shortly after the World Cup.

Loew picked two newcomers, defender Sascha Riether of Wolfsburg and midfielder Marco Reus of Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Ballack has been training with Bayer Leverkusen but he has not played since getting injured in the FA Cup final in May, when he was still at Chelsea.

Loew left out all of his World Cup starters except goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. Manchester City defender Jerome Boateng, who played several games, is also in the squad.

"It was clear from the start that we would leave out the established players," Loew said. "After the demands of the World Cup, it is important that they can now concentrate on preparing for the new season at their clubs."

Bayern Munich coach Louis van Gaal has questioned the necessity of the friendly so shortly after the World Cup, with most of the players only now returning from their late vacations. Other Bundesliga coaches also have criticized the timing of the match.

Loew picked only two Bayern players, midfielder Toni Kroos and striker Mario Gomez.

Apart from Gomez, there is only one other striker in the squad, Patrick Helmes of Bayer Leverkusen, who makes his comeback after a long-term knee injury.

"We chose the players that we had been observing even before the World Cup," Loew said.

The squad includes players who did not make the final cut for the World Cup.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Schalke), Tim Wiese (Werder Bremen)

Defenders: Andreas Beck (Hoffenheim), Jerome Boateng (Manchester City), Sascha Riether (Wolfsburg), Marcel Schaefer (Wolfsburg), Christian Schulz (Hannover), Serdar Tasci (Stuttgart)

Midfielders: Christian Gentner (Stuttgart), Thomas Hitzlsperger (West Ham), Aaron Hunt (Werder Bremen), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich), Marko Marin (Werder Bremen), Marco Reus (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Christian Traesch (Stuttgart), Piotr Trochowski (Hamburger SV)

Forwards: Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich), Patrick Helmes (Bayer Leverkusen)