BERLIN (AP) – Germany coach Joachim Loew will use Wednesday's friendly against Argentina to assess his side's strength in depth before starting its qualification campaign for the 2014 World Cup.
Established internationals including Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Gomez and captain Philipp Lahm will all miss the match in Frankfurt, as will Arsenal pair Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker, allowing Loew a rare opportunity to experiment against an opponent at full strength and featuring Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi.
Loew has signaled his intention to make ''a lot of substitutions to see a lot of players'' against a ''class team.''
''It's a good measure for the upcoming qualification games in September and October,'' the 52-year-old coach said.
Meanwhile, Argentina hopes to avenge its heaviest defeat to Germany in the sides' last meeting - a 4-0 loss at the 2010 World Cup.
Mesut Oezil and Sami Khedira were instrumental in that quarterfinal win, their performances for Germany earning them lucrative transfers to Real Madrid, and they will be expected the lead Germany in the absence of influential regulars.
''Regardless of whether Basti (Schweinsteiger) is there or not, I try to accept responsibility,'' Khedira said on Tuesday. ''We'll have a very, very young team on the pitch tomorrow. I'm obliged to accept responsibility.''
Germany's players are looking to put European Championship disappointment behind them as quickly as possible. One of the pre-tournament favorites, the team was knocked out after a 2-1 defeat to Italy in the semifinal.
''We have to look forward, that's the most important thing,'' said Marco Reus, who was voted Germany's player of the season on Sunday. ''We want to make a new start against Argentina.''
Hannover goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler should start in place of Neuer, who pulled out of the game Sunday citing a hip injury, Toni Kroos will line up beside Khedira in midfield, and Reus will hope to show why Bundesliga champion Borussia Dortmund paid Borussia Moenchengladbach ?17.5 million ($21.59 million) for him.
Schalke's 18-year-old midfielder Julian Draxler will also be given a chance to shine after being omitted from the Euro 2012 squad.
Evergreen Lazio striker Miroslav Klose will likely start in place of the injured Gomez, giving the 34-year-old, who has scored 64 goals for Germany, another chance to close the gap on all-time topscorer Gerd Mueller with 68.
Loew expects Klose to feature at the World Cup in Brazil despite his age.
''I don't see any age limit for him,'' Loew said. ''When Miro is fit, he continues to be one of the world's best strikers. I'll be counting on him for the next two years.''
Schalke's Benedikt Hoewedes, Bayern's Jerome Boateng or Dortmund's Lars Bender could fill in at left back, after Lahm was excused due to the imminent birth of his child, but whoever starts in defense will have to cope with the attacking brilliance of Barcelona's Messi.
Coach Alejandro Sabella has the enviable problem of deciding who would best partner his captain up front - Manchester City's Sergio Aguero or Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain.
''It's always something special to play against the best in the world and Messi is definitely among them,'' Khedira said. ''But (Madrid teammates Angel) di Maria and Higuain also belong there.''
Sabella's only other serious dilemma is whether to start Sporting Lisbon's Marcos Rojo or Boca Juniors' Clemente Rodriguez at left back.
He called up Newcastle United defender Fabricio Coloccini for the first time and the 57-year-old coach readily admits he needs to give more thought to his defense.
''Without question, we're much better equipped in attack than defense,'' Sabella told Germany's Kicker magazine. ''When I say that I don't mean to offend anyone in the team, but it's now the case.''
Argentina arrives motivated by wins over Brazil, 4-3 in a friendly, and Ecuador, 4-0 in a World Cup qualifier, and will be hoping to maintain that momentum ahead of qualifiers against Paraguay and Peru in September.
''These matches serve to consolidate the group and achieve a style of play,'' said Valencia midfielder Fernando Gago. ''The matches at this level also help us know where we stand. To win great things you need to test yourself against the best teams in the world and Germany is one of those.''
Reus, meanwhile, is looking forward to measuring himself against Messi.
''It'll be the first time I'm on the same pitch as Messi,'' the 23-year-old winger said. ''I've rarely seen a player so light on his feet.''
Germany opens its World Cup qualification campaign at home to the Faroe Islands on Sept. 7, visiting Austria four days later, with games against Ireland and Sweden in October. Kazakhstan is also in Group C.
Debora Rey in Buenos Aires contributed to this report.