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World Cup 2018

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England ENG 1

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No dress rehearsal against Spain, says Germany boss Low

The 2014 world champions take on the 2010 winners in Dusseldorf.

Germany manager Joachim Low says his side’s friendly with Spain will have no bearing on a potential meeting in the World Cup.

The reigning world champions and Julen Lopetegui’s men are possible semi-final opponents in Russia this summer.

But Low insists Friday’s meeting in Dusseldorf on Friday night is not a dress rehearsal.

“Both teams want to show what they can do – but they will not put all the cards on the table,” Low said  on the DFB’s official website.

“The game is not the yardstick of what would happen if we played against them at the World Cup. The World Cup writes its own story.

“We know that Spain is a top nation. The squad is made up largely of the teams from Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. The team combines the attributes of these clubs.

“Spain is one of the absolute top favourites for me. Nobody should write off Spain, they are at a high level.”

Low has revealed that he expects to have Manuel Neuer available for the summer tournament in Russia.

The Bayern Munich goalkeeper has been out since September with a broken foot but is nearing a comeback.

Low added: “If a player plays no part in the preparation, it is difficult to nominate him. Manuel is absolutely in the timetable. It is planned that he will still play at Bayern this season.

“The doctor has assured me that the condition of his scar and the growing together of the bones are absolutely fine and look very good.

“He is currently training 90 per cent and wants to increase to 100 per cent in the coming weeks, so that he can be fully loaded. Then he can still get the necessary security in the training sessions.

“I assume and am very optimistic that Manuel will be present at the World Cup.”

Low has confirmed that Marc ter Stegen, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil and Toni Kroos will start, but Emre Can is injured and Sebastian Rudy is with his heavily pregnant wife.

Returning Spain striker Diego Costa hopes to use this international week to book his World Cup spot.

The 29-year-old has not featured for his country since last June after missing the first half of this season due to Atletico Madrid’s transfer embargo.

But he is back in Lopetegui’s squad and hopes to make full use of the game in Dusseldorf and the one next week against Argentina.

He told sefutbol.com: “I’ll try to make the most of whatever I’m asked to do.

“The important thing is to be here and to do things the best I can, it doesn’t matter if we’re two up top.

“We have two very important matches. We haven’t gotten to Russia yet. I hope things go well. I want to grow with my team in order to make the World Cup cut.

“I hope I get to help them somehow and for people to see what they expect of me.”

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