DORTMUND: Lukas Podolski will captain injury-hit Germany on his farewell international appearance in Wednesday’s friendly against England, die Mannschaft’s head coach Joachim Loew has confirmed.
Podolski, 31, will make his 130th and final appearance by wearing the captain’s armband against Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions in Dortmund.
“It’s sensational, you can’t ask for more,” said Podolski, who will join Japan’s Vissel Kobe next season, upon hearing he will captain his country on his farewell.
“My final appearance will be a lovely, but also a sad moment for me.
“I’m pleased I will get a chance to say goodbye to the fans,” added the Galatasaray striker, who made his international debut in 2004.
However, world champions Germany are missing a host of first choice players.
“As well as our captain Manuel Neuer, Mario Gomez, Mesut Ozil and Julian Draxler are also injured,” Loew told a press conference in Dortmund.
With both attacking midfielders Draxler of Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal’s Ozil out, Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos is most likely to fill the role.
With Gomez, 31, missing, RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner, 21, is set to make his debut having hit 14 goals in the Bundesliga so far this season.
In the absence of first-choice goalkeeper Neuer, who has a calf injury, Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen, PSG’s Kevin Trapp and Bayer Leverkusen’s Bernd Leno will be vying to start between the posts.
Loew is already without injured defender Jerome Boateng and winger Marco Reus while World Cup winner Mario Goetze is sidelined until next season with a metabolism disorder.
Germany’s head coach will be hoping to have some of his stars back for Sunday’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan in Baku with his side five points clear in their group.