Injury-plagued Germany to host Argentina sans Messi
Dortmund (Germany): Argentina will be playing without captain Lionel Messi in a friendly against a German team which is also decimated by injury, here on Wednesday.
Messi is serving a three-month international suspension imposed by the South American Soccer Confederation (Conmebol) after the FC Barcelona superstar criticised the organisation during the Copa America tournament in Brazil, reports Efe news.
Argentine coach Lionel Scaloni, on Tuesday, also decided against calling up players from Boca Juniors and River Plate -- Argentina's two top clubs -- as those squads are preparing for an October 22 Copa Libertadores semifinal clash.
Even so, Scaloni can rely on proven performers such as Nicolas Otamendi, Nicolas Tagliafico, Leandro Paredes, Paulo Dybala and rising star Lautaro Martinez.
"Germany is a power," the coach said in an interview posted on the website of the Argentine soccer federation. "It's an important test to know where we are at the moment."
The German coach, Joachim Low, faces a much stiffer challenge in putting together a starting 11 for Wednesday's contest in Dortmund with Argentina, especially as its comes days before a key Euro 2020 qualifier.
Leroy Sane, Antonio Rüdiger, Leon Goretzka, Kevin Trapp, Nico Schulz, Julian Draxler, Thilo Kehrer, Toni Kroos, Jonas Hector, Matthias Ginter, Jonathan Tah and Ilkay Gündogan are on the injured list for Germany.
And Marco Reus, who was expected to play against Argentina, complained of knee problems on Tuesday.
"It's an emergency team, yes," Low acknowledged at the pre-match conference, while emphasizing that the situation also creates opportunity for new faces to get playing time.
Asked about the opposition, he described Argentina as a "dangerous team, with or without Messi."
The coach has named the Barcelona man as the starter against Argentina, while Bayern Munich's Neuer will be in the net for Sunday's Euro qualifier with Estonia.
Germany and Argentina have faced each other in three World Cup finals. Argentina triumphed in 1986, while the Germans won in 1990 and 2014.