FIFA World Cup Russia 2018: Loew banking on rising stars
12:00 AM, September 04, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:13 PM, September 04, 2016

FIFA World Cup Russia 2018

Loew banking on rising stars

With Manuel Neuer confirmed as his new captain, Joachim Loew plans to blood Germany's next generation as part of his team's preparations to defend their World Cup title in Russia.

Germany's journey to the 2018 finals starts on Sunday at Oslo's Ullevaal Stadium in their opening qualifier against Norway.

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Since winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, head coach Loew has lost five experienced veterans, each of whom made more than 100 appearances for Germany.

Philipp Lahm, Miroslav Klose, Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski and now Bastian Schweinsteiger, who bowed out in Wednesday's 2-0 friendly win over Finland, have all retired from international football.

With them went the collective experience of 604 caps and 152 goals.

But Germany's next crop of talent is knocking at the door.

Loew has said they will get their chance on the road to Russia, in forthcoming qualifiers and friendlies, plus next June's Confederations Cup, against the likes of Portugal, Mexico, Chile, Australia, New Zealand and hosts Russia.

Hoffenheim defender Niklas Suele made his debut against Finland while Schalke 04's Max Meyer and Bayer Leverkusen's Julian Brandt also started in Moenchengladbach.

All three are still only 20.

"They did well. You could see that we were taking a look at the future," Loew said following the Finland win.

"It was either their first game, or one of their first, and we'll be using games like that to give the players experience.

"That's how I'll most likely use the Confed Cup.

"I want to increase the prospects of the younger players. From now on, the door is wide open."

For now, Loew will take no risks with the starting line-up in Oslo, but Meyer and 21-year-old Bayern Munich defender Joshua Kimmich are expected to feature.

A 2-0 defeat away to Poland in October 2014 meant Germany lost their opening Euro 2016 qualifier.

Loew will want no repeat against Norway, who lost their warm-up friendly 1-0 to Belarus in Oslo on Wednesday.

"We will field a strong team. And we will win," he insisted.

Home qualifiers against Czech Republic and Northern Ireland, a friendly away to Italy and a trip to minnows San Marino will follow in October and November. 

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