Die Mannschaft’s dress rehearsal ahead of the 2018 World Cup will be played in Leverkusen on 08/06/18 against Saudi Arabia. This was decided by the DFB committee on Friday. In the build-up to the World Cup, the friendly match away to Austria is already in the diary for 2nd June. But the national team management decided that they wanted to play one more home game before the World Cup.
DFB will be organizing this game with families and young fans in mind. DFB President Reinhard Grindel announced that “Children and youths will be able to come and watch this game for just five euros. We know that young people in our country are always looking to emulate their idols. And that means they need to be able to see these idols playing in a stadium. Naturally, we would like as many young fans as possible to come and cheer on our players in Leverkusen, and send them well on their way to the World Cup in Russia.
Oliver Bierhoff, national team coordinator, said: “Nowadays, it has become a tradition for our team to play their last game before a big tournament in front of our home fans. Of course, we will be hoping for a fantastic atmosphere, as we look to build momentum for the seriously tough weeks that await us in Russia.
“The match against Austria is a good test against a European side, which fits well into our preparation for the World Cup from a sporting and organisational perspective,” said Germany coach Joachim Löw. “We will come up against a different playing style and mentality with Saudi Arabia, one that we won’t be too familiar with and will have to prepare for going into the World Cup. I expect Saudi Arabia to take the game very seriously and they certainly won’t give us an easy ride, particularly as they will be looking to go into their World Cup opener against Russia a few days later full of confidence.”
DFB president Reinhard Grindel addressed the sporting politics surrounding the opponents: “We’re well aware of the difficult human-rights situation in the country and know about the regional conflicts. However, the foreign office encouraged us to go ahead with the game. Things are becoming more open in Saudi Arabia, a remarkable process that is being supported my many European states. Football may not be able to solve political conflict, but it can build bridges and help overcome obstacles. The message here is that diversity is strength.”
Grindel also talked about the changes in the spot in Saudi Arabia: “Football is the number one sport there and so far had been for men only, but that is changing. Women’s football is now a subject at universities, and there are certain sections at stadiums for female supporters. There are also a number of women’s football clubs being formed. That’s why we would like to discuss collaborating with the Saudi Arabian Football Federation to help further strengthen women’s football in the country.”