Barcelona's Ter Stegen to face Argentina amid German injury crisis

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By Oliver Trust

STUTTGART, Germany, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- The mood of Marc Andre Ter Stegen could not be better. The Barcelona goalkeeper reported for duty in top shape and smiling ahead of the German national team's friendly against Argentina this Wednesday evening in Dortmund.

But while Ter Stegen is all smiles, circumstances for the German team couldn't be more challenging, with 12 players ruled out through injury, such as Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Leroy Sane (Manchester City), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), Leon Goretzka (Bayern), Thilo Kehrer and Julian Draxler (both Paris St Germain).

In addition, RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner and Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan may join the list of absentees with minor niggles.

Germany head coach Joachim Low complained about a significant setback regarding preparations on the road to the 2020 European Championships. Instead of gaining confidence and stability for his renewed young team, he noted "we have to get things right from the start."

Low added that current situation is far from ideal, with only eight months to go until the continental tournament kicks off on June 12.

The result against Argentina is of secondary importance, as Low intends to use the game to give his his fringe players some experience on the international stage. "It might be an opportunity for our young challengers, but I must admit it is exceptionally hard for us," the German coach mused.

While Low called the match against the South Americans a "session of advanced training" for his youngsters, the former striker remained firm regarding the 2014 World Cup winners' Euro 2020 qualifier against Estonia on Sunday. "We will win this game, we have to, but Argentina is first," he said.

Ter Stegen's return in goal follows a controversial debate about who should be Germany's number one.

A verbal clash flared up after Germany's recent matches against the Netherlands and Northern Ireland, with Bayern Munich captain Manuel Neuer between the posts and Ter Stegen left on the bench in disappointment.

A tense relationship between team captain Neuer and his rival came to light after Ter Stegen spoke about his frustration, with Neuer accusing him of disrupting team spirit. Low attempted to ease tensions by appointing his number two for the Argentina game, but underlined that Neuer will remain first choice.

The heated issue is keeping fans and observers busy, as a survey by the tabloid Bild revealed only one Bundesliga keeper is in favor of a change in the German goal. Fortuna Dusseldorf's Zack Steffen was the only one to plump for Ter Stegen, praising the Barcelona keeper's modern style, while the majority refused to comment.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has likened his goalkeeper to a life insurance policy, due to the outstanding performances he is delivering.

While Low might have solved his keeper problem for now, the German coach has had to call up several new faces to fill the gaps in his squad.

Sebastian Rudy (Hoffenheim) and U-21 regulars Robin Koch (Freiburg) and Suat Serdar (Schalke) joined the team as the head coach continues his efforts to rejuvenate his side. Enditem

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