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Depleted Germany brace for Messi-less Argentina in Fifa friendly

Sports Lounge Staff

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Messi

Dortmund: Germany are set to hand out several debuts with Joachim Loew missing a host of first-choice names for a friendly against Argentina without Lionel Messi.

Like the Germans, Argentina must do without some big names in Dortmund, where only two-thirds of tickets have been sold for the friendly.

The match is a repeat of the 2014 World Cup final, but Argentina’s Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo is set to be the only survivor.

Angel Di Maria and Sergio Aguero have been left out of the Argentina squad while playmaker and captain Messi is suspended.

The 32-year-old superstar is serving a three-month ban after accusing governing body CONMEBOL of “corruption” at the Copa America, where his team finished third.

The German camp has been forced into a reshuffle with 13 players dropping out for illness or injury.

“It will be difficult to expect great things when it comes to the line-up, but you can expect seriousness and commitment,” assured Loew.

Loew admitted wanting to use the Argentina match to test out combinations with an eye on Euro 2020, “but we won’t be able to do that now”.

Key midfielders Toni Kroos of Real Madrid and Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan are both injured, while a knee knock means there is a question mark over Dortmund captain Marco Reus.

As a result, Loew has called up defender Robin Koch from Freiburg and midfielder Sebastian Rudy, who played a key role in Hoffenhiem’s shock win at Bayern Munich on Saturday.

With defenders Matthias Ginter, out with a shoulder injury, and Jonathan Tah, who has a cold, also missing, Loew will test new players.

Hertha Berlin defender Niklas Stark will start, as will Freiburg forward Luca Waldschmidt, in for first-choice striker Timo Werner, who has a cold.

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