Germany Vs. Netherlands, 2011 International Friendly: Potential Euro 2012 Final Preview

HAMBURG, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 14: Klaas Jan Hunterlaar in action during the Netherlands national team training session at Imtech Arena on November 14, 2011 in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Two of Europe's top international sides will be looking to gain a mental edge over the other heading into this summer's Euro 2012 competition.

On paper this match could well be a preview of the Euro 2012 finals. However, given the rash of injuries and absentees for both sides, particularly Holland, this game has lost a bit of its luster. Some of the big names we will not be seeing in this match include Rafael Van der Vaart, Robin Van Persie, and Arjen Robben for the Dutch; and Bastien Schweinsteiger and Phillip Lamm for the Germans.

Both Germany and Netherlands enter this match on the back of rather disappointing draws for the two countries. Germany had to fight back in order to earn a 3-3 draw with Ukraine; while the Netherlands and Switzerland fought to a scoreless draw. 

German manager Joachim Loew played a younger, less experienced side against Ukraine, but will now recall some of his more experience internationals for this match. Manuel Neuer, Miroslav Klose, and Per Mertesacker should all start. Also, Thomas Mueller and Lucas Podolski, who both made late substitution appearances against Ukraine, should feature from the start. 

Without Van Persie, Dutch manager Bert van Marwijk will turn to Klaas Jan-Huntelaar to lead the line against the German defense, but the Schalke striker will likely have to wear a mask to protect his broken nose. It will be interesting to see if the injury and the mask affect the target striker's play. The Clockwork Orange, unlike Germany, did not rest their star players against the Swiss, but the likes of Wesley Sneijer and Dirk Kuyt are both still fit and ready to go.

Both of these teams are very strong sides, but it's the Dutch that hold the advantage in this international rivalry. Germany have not beaten Holland in 15 years, but with this game being played in Hamburg that could be a streak that will come to an end today.

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