Revenge in mind for Germany against Italy

Revenge in mind for Germany against Italy

Published Feb. 8, 2011 1:05 p.m. ET

Germany can avenge its 2006 World Cup semifinal loss to Italy when the teams meet for a friendly in the same Dortmund stadium on Wednesday.

That 2-0 loss was the first time Germany was beaten at Westfalen Stadium, and its current players are keen to dispel memories of that painful loss.

"It was bitter and disappointing for the national team," said midfielder Mario Goetze, who was 14 at the time but now hopes to win a second international cap.

"Everything has happened very quickly. I wasn't on the pitch at the time, but of course I know there is a lot of prestige attached to the game against Italy."


Goetze is one of five Borussia Dortmund players called up for the game by coach Joachim Loew, but they may have to bide their time as the coach wants a settled team for the rest of the campaign.

The 23-year-old Marcel Schmelzer could be the only Dortmund player to start, in the troublesome left back position, although Loew may also start Mats Hummels in central defense. Kevin Grosskreutz will join Goetze and debutant Sven Bender on the bench.

Germany coach Joachim Loew has indicated he will start with experienced players against the four-time world champions, saying "a team which has already played together will take to the field."

Bundesliga top scorer Mario Gomez is missing due to a knee injury, but Loew has no other injury worries ahead of his 63rd game in charge.

Goetze, who was three years old when Germany last beat Italy in 1995, has been lavishly praised by Loew.

"Everyone can see what ability and intelligence he has," the coach said. "He is certainly one of the biggest talents, fun to watch. He can definitely be a big player."

Early qualification for the 2012 European Championship is Loew's priority. Germany tops Group A with maximum points after four games, while Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has seen his side recover from a disastrous World Cup in South Africa to lead Group C with three wins and a draw. Both sides have conceded only one goal.

Midfielder Thiago Motta has been given clearance by FIFA to play for Italy despite playing twice for Brazil's under-23 side.

Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon returns to the squad for the first time since injuring his back in Italy's opening World Cup game, and Prandelli is likely to start with AC Milan forward Antonio Cassano in attack.

"It's true that it is no longer a team of big names, like in 2006, but the Italians will certainly be very organized and focused playing against us," Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff said. "We played a successful and inspiring World Cup and we've carried on with unbelievable maturity in European qualification. We shouldn't throw that away easily."