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Previewing Wednesday's USA-Germany Match


ALL ACCOUNTED FOR:  The U.S. contingent reached full strength yesterday as the eight MLS players arrived in Rostock in the early afternoon.  Travel distance honors went to Cobi Jones and Eddie Pope, both of whom spent nearly 24 hours journeying to Germany after the Galaxy’s 2-1 defeat of D.C. United in the season opener last Saturday.    Fatigue remains an issue as the team holds its final training session tonight at the Ostseestadion at 7 p.m. local time.

ON THE BUBBLE: Already losing Cory Gibbs to a hamstring injury before training even began, the U.S. faces two injury concerns prior to tomorrow’s kickoff.  Brian McBride suffered a slight ankle sprain in the 2-0 Columbus loss to Chicago on the weekend and has been receiving treatment every day.  John O’Brien picked up a strained abductor muscle in training yesterday and will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis.

DOUBTS IN DEUTCHLAND: Germany coach Rudi Voller faces much more serious injury issues, with 12 players now ruled out of the side due to injury. Leading the original sick list were Bayer Leverkusen forward Carsten Jancker and Bayern Munich midfielder Mehmet Scholl.  Since the 24-man roster was named, no less than seven players have been forced to withdraw.  The biggest hits have come at the backline, with only three healthy defenders left for selection.  Despite the heavy losses, demands remain high from the German press and public to avenge the last two defeats to the United States.  The injured: Jens Nowotny, Sebastian Kehl, Christoph Metzelder, Christian Woerns, Marco Bose, Miroslav Klose and Alexander Zickler.

SETTING THE STAGE:  The city of Rostock is hyped to host the first game in the former East Germany in over 10 years.  Tickets for the match sold out within three days of going on public sale, over 29,000 spectators expected to fill the newly renovated Ostseestadion, home of Bundesliga side Hansa Rostock.  Meanwhile, the Rostockers have been excellent hosts.  The U. S. team hotel sits on the beach overlooking the Baltic Sea, some 20 minutes outside the city center.

vs. GERMANY:  The U.S. has shutout Germany in their last two encounters, winning 3-0 on Feb. 6, 1999, in Jacksonville, Fla., and 2-0 on July 30, 1999, at the FIFA Confederations Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico.  Those matches mark the only time the U.S. has posted consecutive shutouts against a European team in a calendar year.  The March 27 match marks the first USA-Germany game on German soil since the country’s unification.  The U.S. and Germany became familiar foes in the 1990s, playing seven times (including two U.S. matches against East Germany).  The U.S. holds a 2-3-0 record against Germany, and a 0-2-0 record against East Germany.

QUICK HITS:
*Clint Mathis has recorded a point in each of his last five starts for the United States, dating back to March of 2001.  The MetroStars forward has recorded four goals and two assists during the streak, including a pair against Honduras on March 2 in Seattle.  Mathis missed seven months of action in 2001 while recovering from a torn ACL.  The scoring breakdown:
    03/03/01 v. Brazil         1 goal
    03/27/01 @ Honduras      1 goal
    04/25/01 v. Costa Rica    1 assist
    03/02/02 v. Honduras       2 goals
    03/10/02 v. Ecuador        1 assist

*Seven players on the current U.S. roster appeared in the victory against Germany in the Confederations Cup, the teams’ last encounter.  Jeff Agoos, Frankie Hedjuk Eddie Lewis and Joe-Max Moore were in the first team, while Brian McBride, Earnie Stewart and Jovan Kirovski came off the bench.  Joe-Max Moore scored the second goal off a beautifully taken free kick, after Ben Olsen had opened the U.S. scoring account.

*Meantime, four players appeared in the first meeting against a unified Germany on June 13, 1993, a 4-3 loss in Chicago.  The starters included Tony Meola and Jeff Agoos, with Earnie Stewart and Cobi Jones added as subs.  Stewart scored his first goal in a U.S. uniform in the losing effort.  
  
* Germany will debut their new World Cup uniforms on Wednesday.  The U.S. will wear their new Nike uniforms in the combination of blue-white-blue, the same kit featured against Ecuador.

QUOTABLE:
“I’m pretty motivated to be here.  I know the Bayer Leverkusen people are going to be here, and I think I have a little something to show them.” Landon Donovan, on playing this match in Germany.

“It’s not up to me.  Ultimately it’s my decision, but I just let my agent and Leverkusen deal with it.  If I’m going to go back to Leverkusen and sit on the bench, it’s not the right decision.  I’m not getting better that way.  But in the end, I want to play there.” Donovan, on whether and when he will return to Bayer Leverkusen.

FOLLOWING THE GAME ON MATCHTRACKER AND TV:  The USA-Germany game will be broadcast tape delay on Wednesday (March 27) at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT on Telemundo.  Fans not wishing to wait can follow the match live at 2:45 p.m. ET/11:45 a.m. PT via ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.  If you are on any U.S. Soccer Communications distribution lists, you will be receiving a timely match report, however, the subject line will read "RESULT from USA-GERMANY".  If you do not want to know the result of the game until after the television broadcasts, do not open the e-mail.


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