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Soccer-Young Germany side fails to impress in draw with Poland

Reuters

* Germany missing most key players

* Loew to name reduced squad on Wednesday (updates with quotes, details)

HAMBURG, May 13 (Reuters) - A second-string Germany team launched the country's World Cup preparations with a lacklustre 0-0 draw against Poland in a friendly international on Tuesday a month before the start of the finals in Brazil.

With an average age of 21.5 years and eight players in the starting lineup making their international debuts, it was clear that conclusions about Germany's readiness for the tournament would be hard to make.

A record total of 12 players made their Germany debut in the game, as 20 of the 30 players named in the provisional squad - including those from Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund and those playing in England and Spain - were missing.

Coach Joachim Loew used the game to give younger players a chance to prove themselves with regard to future Germany teams. He made 20-year-old Schalke 04 midfielder Julian Draxler, who is expected to make the cut for Brazil, the youngest ever Germany captain.

"We had a lot of newcomers tonight," Loew told reporters. "When you have one or two they are helped by more experienced players. But they still did really well, were well organised and disciplined."

"It was an entertaining game despite not scoring a goal," Loew said, adding he had "not registered" the whistles from the German fans at the end of the game.

A glancing Antonio Ruediger header cleared on the line was all Germany had to show against a defensive Poland in the first half, as the hosts had the edge but understandably lacked rhythm.

The Poles, missing Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski, were kept on the back foot in the second half but Germany's finishing was lacking, with striker Kevin Volland, named in the provisional squad, failing to carve out a clear scoring chance.

Augsburg's Andre Hahn saw his effort flicked over the bar late in the game at a half-empty Hamburg arena.

"We can be satisfied with tonight," said Loew. "These are the faces of the future. Sure we have a tournament now but we have to look at what happens for 2016 or 2018."

Germany, whose most recent title was Euro 96, will also play Cameroon and Armenia in June before leaving for Brazil.

The Germans, who take on Ghana, United States and Portugal in Group G of the World Cup starting next month, will announce a 25- or 26-man group on Wednesday that will travel to a training camp in Italy before naming a final 23-man squad by June 2. (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Stephen Wood and Toby Davis)

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