Highly rated 19-year-old midfielder Mario Goetze is expected to make his first start for Germany before a sellout crowd of close to 55,000 in Stuttgart.
Goetze’s sparkling performances for Borussia Dortmund have earned him rave reviews—he was compared to Argentina’s Lionel Messi by former Germany player and manager Franz Beckenbauer—and he should fill in for the rested Real Madrid midfielder Mesut Oezil.
“He is a player who brings a lot to the game, who finds solutions on the pitch,” Germany coach Joachim Loew said Tuesday. “He has an ingenuity with the ball and also without it—he can play the ball without looking down and he has good vision for the players around—so he’s quite developed already.”
Brazilian hopes are pinned on another 19-year-old, Neymar of Santos, as it looks to recover from a disastrous showing in the Copa America, which saw the team exit in the quarterfinals.
“We’re beginning the second phase following the Copa America,” Brazil coach Mano Menezes said before leaving for Germany. “We’re heading in the right direction. We’re still looking at building this new team. We have great players, now we need put them in place and build a great team.”
Germany has not beaten Brazil since a 2-1 win in Cologne on Nov. 17, 1993, one of only three victories compared to 12 for the South Americans. There have been five draws.
The last meeting between the sides was in June 2005, when Brazil prevailed 3-2 in the semifinals of the Confederations Cup.
Germany has all but qualified for next year’s European Championships in Poland and Ukraine, while Brazil will play mainly friendlies before it hosts the World Cup in 2014.
Dortmund offseason signing Ilkay Guendogan was the only new call-up to Loew’s squad. The 20-year-old Guendogan, who chose to play for Germany over Turkey when he was 18, said “I’m happy that it has worked out.”
Borussia Moenchengladbach’s 22-year-old winger Marco Reus is also in line to win his first cap after being called up three times before. He had to pull out each time because of injury, but said he would not take any special precautions before the game.
“That wouldn’t help,” Reus said. “If you’re only focused on not getting injured, then you can be sure something will happen.”
He added: “Not everyone can say they made their debut in a game against Brazil. I would be thrilled if it actually happened.”
Loew has no major injury worries, with Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng expected to shake off an ankle injury to start on the bench.
A left knee injury has ruled Chelsea defender David Luiz out for Brazil, leaving Lucio, Thiago Silva and Dede as the likely starting defenders for the match.
Sami Khedira was also allowed a rest following Real Madrid’s summer tour. With Goetze coming in for Oezil, Toni Kroos should take Khedira’s place in defensive midfield.
Kroos is one of seven Bayern Munich players expected to start for Germany, with Manuel Neuer in goal and striker Mario Gomez hoping to add to his 19 international goals.
Another Bayern player, Luiz Gustavo, could debut for Brazil along with midfielder Ralf of Corinthians and defender Dede from Vasco.
“It’s a new moment for everybody and also for coach Mano Menezes,” said Milan striker Alexandre Pato after arriving Monday in Germany. “We have to restore our tarnished image.”
Bayern Leverkusen midfielder Renato Augusto said Brazil needs a good showing.
“There’s nothing like a win to forget the past,” he said, referring to the Copa America. “It’s going to be a difficult game, we’ll see what they (Germany) have to offer.”
With Gomez starting, Stuttgart striker Cacau will have to settle for a place on the bench.
The Brazil-born Cacau, who ordered 60 tickets for friends and family to attend the game, said it was “a special feeling” to play against the land of his birth in his adopted city.
The game will be televised live in 190 countries.
Associated Press writer Bradley Brooks in Sao Paulo contributed.