BERLIN, Nov 16, 2015:
Chancellor Angela Merkel and her cabinet are set to attend Germany’s friendly with the Netherlands on Tuesday in a show of solidarity for the victims of the Paris terror attacks.
The world champions found themselves at the centre of Friday’s horrifying scenes in the French capital when 129 people died amidst a series of violent attacks that also left a further 352 injured.
Several deaths took place at the Stade de France, where Germany were playing a friendly against the French and the Germans opted to spend the night in the stadium rather than risk crossing Paris before flying home on Saturday.
The German team already had to switch their hotel earlier in the day because of a bomb scare.
The German Football Association (DFB) had considered calling off Tuesday’s friendly in Hanover, but opted to play the game to send out a clear message as France play England the same night in London.
“The entire team, players, coach and staff, are still severely affected,” said Germany’s team manager Oliver Bierhoff with the squad set to arrive in Hanover on Monday, a day later than planned.
“Yet we all know that it’s important to set an example and promote our values and culture.
“But under these circumstances, the sporting value of the game against the Netherlands has, of course, been lowered.”
– Players ‘deserve respect’ –
DFB’s interim president Reinhard Rauball said the message was clear: “we will not let ourselves be intimidated by terrorism.
“The fact the team will run out for a friendly against the Netherlands a few days after the bad experiences in Paris sends a message.
“Our head coach Joachim Loew and every one of his players deserve respect for this demonstration of solidarity with the victims and the entire French people.”
Loew has released six players and will face the Dutch with just an 18-man squad after captain Bastian Schweinsteiger, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, defenders Jerome Boateng and Jonas Hector, and forward Lukas Podolski were stood down.
Schalke teenager Leroy Sane has also been released so he can play in an Under-21 international.
“I’m still stunned by what has happened,” Schweinsteiger wrote on Twitter and Facebook on Sunday.
Ahead of the European Championships in France next June, Germany will also play friendlies at home to England and Italy in March.
The hosts are still coming to terms with what head coach Loew described as a “nightmare” in Paris.
“We lost a football game — and nothing at that moment was unimportant,” said the DFB in a statement on behalf of the players.
“There was a muffled bang that changed everything. And the images we saw will stay with us for a very long time.”
The Dutch, who have failed to qualify for Euro 2016 next summer, warmed-up for Tuesday’s friendly with a 3-2 win over Wales in Cardiff last Friday as Holland captain Arjen Robben scored twice in his his side’s win.
Netherlands will have to make do without the services of injured Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk and Ajax midfielder Riechedly Bazoer in Hanover.
Dutch head coach Danny Blind has not called up any replacements even after Jairo Riedewald and Davy Klaassen were ruled out with injury in the build-up to Welsh match.