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Australia coach is not taking young German players lightly

Manager Ange Postecoglu (right) and veteran Tim Cahill, of Australia.

Manager Ange Postecoglu (right) and veteran Tim Cahill, of Australia.

Australia coach Ange Postecoglou insists his players will take nothing for granted despite Germany taking a weakened side to their Confederations Cup opener this afternoon.

Germany have picked a young squad for the tournament in Russia this summer, with Shkodran Mustafi, Julian Draxler and Matthias Ginter the only players from the group crowned world champions three years ago.

Also in Group B are Chile and Cameroon, with the eight-team competition made up of all six regional championship winners, as well as the World Cup holders and upcoming hosts.

Australia are outsiders to make the semi-finals and Postecoglou says his side, which includes the 37-year-old Tim Cahill - who is on 97 caps - and Manchester City’s Aaron Mooy, will not be underestimating their opponents in Sochi.

“Germany are doing the right thing,” Postecoglou said in Australia’s Daily Telegraph.

“They’ve stated that they want to win a World Cup in 12 months time and this is part of their preparation for it. We’ll be ready for it.

“At the end of the day it’s Germany footballers come tournament time, they always perform well.

“While others may think there’s some sort of weakened aspect to it, that’s not how we’re approaching it.

“One thing we won’t underestimate is their ability to play the kind of football they’ve been renowned for.”

Australia were thrashed 4-0 by Brazil in a friendly last Tuesday but the Asia Cup holders have lost only one of their eight World Cup qualification matches and sit five points clear at the top of their group.

“You want to get a result and you want to get a strong performance,” Postecoglou said. “And a strong performance against a team like Germany gives you confidence to face anyone.”

Germany have won eight and drawn two of their last 10 matches, scoring 31 goals in that time, but their youthful squad could yet prove vulnerable to an upset.

Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Marco Reus and Mesut Ozil are just some of their regulars to have been left at home but Hoffenheim forward Sandro Wagner should be full of confidence following his hat trick against San Marino last weekend.

Coach Joachim Low has already confirmed Bayer Leverkusen’s Bernd Leno will start in goal, ahead of Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Kevin Trapp, while Liverpool midfielder Emre Can and Leverkusen youngster Julian Brandt could also be in the first XI.

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