Germany are not showing England “a lack of respect”, Joachim Löw insists, despite awarding an international debut to a 33-year-old goalkeeper and resting several stars from Friday’s draw with Italy: the Nationalmannschaft’s nemesis.

The senior keeper summoned to give Manuel Neuer, of Bayern Munich, a night off is none other than Roman Weidenfeller, the No 1 at Borussia Dortmund, so Löw has plenty of ballast for his argument.

But Germany’s decision to promote “upcoming players” for a game against the ancient foe is bound to be seen as a judgment on the respective threats posed by Italy and Roy Hodgson’s men.

One German columnist observed that Löw had downgraded the traditional rivalry from “a classic to a benefit match” for his fringe players.
Neuer, Philipp Lahm and Mesut Özil are all rested. “It was clear for me that I would use these two matches against Italy and England to try out a few new players, a few upcoming players, in key positions," Löw said, not altogether convincingly.

“And what better test for these upcoming players than playing to a partisan crowd of 80,000 English fans spurring their own team on?
“I needed to experiment a bit, and sent home some of the players who are firmly established. It was a deliberate acid test for these younger players.
"It’s definitely not a B-team in any respect, and there is no lack of respect towards our hosts. Speaking of whom: in November 2008 we hosted England in Berlin and England played without the likes of Rooney and Gerrard and Lampard, and beat us 2-1. There is no such thing as a B or an A-team for us.”

Löw, whose tenure as Germany coach has been characterised by abundant promise and tournament let-downs, called this latest Anglo-German encounter “an extraordinary match, at a mythical place”.
In the imposing Gladstone Library at the National Liberal Club in London he also offered an insight into German power.

“We really have stepped up our talent promotion scheme big time in Germany. We’ve improved our technical skills across the board,” he said. “We have great strength in depth. That is our great advantage at the moment.”