By Karolos Grohmann
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany coach Joachim Loew refused to call his side that beat England 1-0 at Wembley on Tuesday a reserve team despite eight changes and the way they controlled the friendly proved him right.
It was clear the 53-year-old was eager to experiment ahead of next year's World Cup in Brazil, resting the likes of captain Philipp Lahm and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer following Friday's 1-1 draw in Italy.
He now looks to have a large number of players battle-ready and on call when he decides on his squad for June's tournament.
"I think the team had a good performance after eight changes from the Italy game so I am quite satisfied," Loew, whose team cruised to the World Cup with nine wins and a draw in the qualifiers, told reporters.
"We have only one preparation game left (against Chile) and we know what the sticking points are so we will address them."
There could be two or three more friendlies next year but officials said plans would be finalized after next month's draw.
"I go to the World Cup draw with a mix of excitement and curiosity, waiting to discover who we are playing and where, and it's the same with the players," Loew added.
As part of his experiments, Roman Weidenfeller became the oldest German goalkeeper to make an international debut at the age of 33 and Loew was full of praise for the Borussia Dortmund player, consistently overlooked in recent years.
"We wanted to see how he gelled in training, how he worked with the other players and he is very good, mature and self-confident and athletically outstanding," said Loew. "We don't have to decide yet about our goalkeepers."
Loew also deployed the Bender twins, Lars and Sven, in a holding midfield role with regular starters Sami Khedira out for six months and Bastian Schweinsteiger undergoing yet another ankle injury that will see him come back in the new year.
The coach is fully aware of the expectations placed on his team. With their last title dating back to 1996 and Loew now boasting arguably the most talented side in decades, he knows only a final appearance will do for success-starved German fans.
His past two semi-final appearances and one final spot in his three tournaments in charge speak volumes for his team's consistency but he has yet to take the big step that will earn him and his side an international trophy.
"I think we can go away from 2013 very satisfied. We showed determination in the crunch qualification games and we ended with an away win over an England team who hadn't lost two in a row at home for a long time and didn't lose to France, Brazil and Spain," he said.
(Editing by Mark Meadows)
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- Manuel Neuer
- Philipp Lahm