Date: 22nd August 2007 at 4:45pm
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It’s a friendly Jim, but not as we know it.

An injury ravaged England side will be taking on the old enemy, an injury ravaged Germany side tonight at Wembley. Having scored the last ever international goal at Wembley (via ex-Liverpool defender Dietmar Hamann)ze Germans will be hoping for something similar in the first fixture between the two nations at the new stadium.

The game will give current boss Steve McClaren a chance to prove himself, lets face it he has to really having witnessed England predecessor and oft-criticised Sven-Göran Eriksson mastermind a Manchester derby victory for the blue half of the city last Saturday.

Pre-Match Quotes

Frank Lampard will be playing ‘through the pain barrier’ tonight according to Chelsea team-mate John Terry, who has called for England fans everywhere to get behind the miss-firing midfielder.

‘He’s playing through injuries to get through training and games,’ Terry said ahead of Wednesday’s friendly.

‘He doesn’t miss a day of training, he will keep playing and training – he is a fantastic professional and a world-class player.’

‘It is a privilege to play with him for England and Chelsea and he is an example for all younger players.’

So there you go kids, your perfect example of how to blast 80% of your chances over the bar. Try it tonight in the park.

England ‘manager’ Steve McClaren is glad that the focus is back on his England team, despite such a large number of players missing through injury, and believes he has plenty of options despite those who won’t play:

One man’s injury is another man’s opportunity,’ reflected smiler.

‘If you take your opportunity it can put you in the team later on, so these are important games for them.’

England Team News:

The main focus of the entire game has been largely on injuries, with England suffering from a lack of striking options.

McClaren appears to be fully prepared to chance his luck with Newcastle duo Alan Smith and Michael Owen, following injuries to Darren Bent, Andy Johnson, Wayne Rooney and Peter Crouch’s current suspension. The England boss having seemingly forgotten about Jermaine Defoe, and the man who nicked his goal last time round of David Nugent.

Steven Gerrard and Owen Hargreaves both miss out with knocks, Michael Carrick looks set to fill in.

One position that is uncertain is that of ex-Leeds goalkeeper Paul Robinson who hasn’t particularly impressed in the Premiership so far. With McClaren going tail-between-legs back to those who he dropped, Portsmouth’s #1 David James may be in line for a shock return to the starting line-up.

Player to watch: Michael ‘I’m not injured’ Owen

He didn’t play during pre-season, has barely featured for Newcastle Owen will be starting the match alongside team-mate Alan Smith.

Has Owen’s dip in form been purely down to injury, or is it high-time that we started looking else where?

Germany Team News:

German head-coach Joachim Loew isn’t having the best of times trying to piece together a squad at the moment either, blaming the rough and tumble of the Bundesliga for a number of his high-profile injury worries.

Miroslav Klose, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira all pulled out of the squad after their club matches on Saturday.

These latest problems add to Michael Ballack, forwards Mario Gomez, Lukas Podolski and Jan Schlaudraff, midfielders Torsten Frings and Tim Borowski and full-backs Marcell Jansen and Clemens Fritz, all of whom will not feature in the game. Germany are likely to hand a number of players their first international caps tonight.

Player to watch: Jens ‘Mr Blunder’ Lehmann

Lehmann appears to have developed an uncanny knack of cocking up regularly, an improvement from last years ‘cocking up now and again.’

Keep an eye on the man from the Arse to see what he does next.

Useless Facts

According to a recent survey, there is a massive inbalance in just what the fixture means to people. It seems that most German’s don’t particularly give a stuff about beating England.

Some research even suggests that the 5-1 victory in Munich is held more dearly to England fans hearts than the 1966 World Cup Win.

Jens Lehmann is actually paid a wage as a Premiership goalkeeper.

The German’s are big drinkers, in that way holding something vastly in common with myself.

Ref Watch:

The referee for tonight’s game is Massimo Busacca who comes from Switzerland.

In the event of an emergency, bizzarely it will be England’s Mike Dean that takes control of the match.

The lino’s are Stephane Cuhat and Francesco Buragina (both Swiss)

Match Prediction:

England B 1-2 Germany B

Next Up

England move on to play Israel, which will be far from an easy game.


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