Tuesday February 8 2011
Loew: 'Meeting of great national sides'

Germany manager Joachim Loew looks ahead to tomorrow's friendly with Italy. “It will be a meeting of two great national sides.”

They clash in a replay of the 2006 World Cup semi-final on Wednesday evening in Dortmund.

“Last season we were a step ahead of Italy at the World Cup in South Africa, but they remain a side who can really defend well,” said Loew.

“They are a very difficult team to face and it will be a meeting of two great national sides. Italy know how to control the tempo to trouble their opponents and can count on many individual talents.”

The Azzurri are in a process of renewal after the second Marcello Lippi era, something Germany have already started.

“We dealt with our tradition successfully, at least in terms of attack, though we do realise that we still have to improve in certain areas. Prestigious friendlies like this can help give experience to the younger players.

“I am very satisfied, as compared to 2006 we have several young defenders who can play at the top level. I refer to Holger Badstuber, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels, who are still growing.”

Prandelli has already named his starting XI, but Loew is keeping details under wraps.

“Germany have not beaten Italy in 16 years, so tomorrow we can achieve something special.”

Miroslav Klose is expected to start in attack with Sami Khedira in midfield and Philipp Lahm at left-back.

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