DUBAI // The friendly between UAE and Germany tomorrow night may seem like a mismatch, with little to gain for either side. The Germans are one of the strongest sides in world football with three World Cup crowns and four runner-up finishes. Ranked second in the world, they have also won three European Championships.
The UAE, on the other hand, are ranked a modest 120 in the world and have made a solitary appearance, in 1990, among the world's elite at a World Cup. In the Asian qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup, they have managed just one point from six games. In their last 20 games, they have three wins and 11 losses. Yet, Oliver Bierhoff, the German team manager, believes there will be plenty of benefits for both sides.
"First of all, I think this will be a test for us," said the former national team striker. "We have a whole lot of new players, fresh faces in the squad who have not been capped yet. With [head coach] Joachim Loew having promised not to leave anyone on the bench, we will see some new players being given caps. "Also it is a test for us against an Arab nation. At any World Cup, there is always a chance of you meeting an Arab nation. So we will draw our own conclusions from playing them; are they comfortable on the ball, what are their tactical formations and so on.
"As far as UAE are concerned, I think it will be very interesting for them to play us. They have been watching these players on television and now they will actually be meeting them on the pitch with, hopefully, pace and positive aggression." The UAE players will, however, miss brushing shoulders with Chelsea's Michael Ballack, who was left out of the Asia tour because of the FA Cup final. Injured Real Madrid defender Christoph Metzelder has also missed out on the trip, while seven national team regulars from Bayer Leverkusen and Werder Bremen are missing as the two clubs were involved in Saturday's German Cup final, which Bremen won 1-0.
In the absence of Ballack, Bastien Schweinsteiger will be wearing the captain's armband and the Munich midfielder hopes to use his previous Dubai experience to guide the visitors to victory after their 1-1 draw against China on Thursday. He said. "We have visited Dubai on several occasions with Bayern Munich and played local teams in friendlies. "So I sort of know what will be awaiting us. "There is no question about us badly wanting to win the game. But as the game against China has shown, sometimes it is difficult to give 100 per cent always.
"We are at the end of a very tough season. But I hope that despite all this, despite the weather, we can demonstrate good football and be there for a good show." firstname.lastname@example.org