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Sep 17, 2010

Australia tee up Germany revenge friendly

Australia will get the chance to get one back over their World Cup conquerors Germany when they meet the South Africa semi-finalists in a friendly in Mönchengladbach on March 29.

Germany thrashed the Socceroos 4-0 in their Group D opener in South African, setting the theme for the countries' respective campaigns. Australia now have a new German coach in Holger Osieck and a new generation of players, giving the friendly a different feel.

The Socceroos will compete at the Asian Cup in January, meaning the Germany friendly will mark the beginning of preparations for qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Germany will still be involved in qualifiers for Euro 2012.

FFA CEO Ben Buckley said the match was part of a strategic plan aimed at getting the best competition possible for the Socceroos over the next four years.

"As we saw at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Germany is one of the best teams in the world," Buckley said in a statement. "I'm sure that our boys and all Australian supporters will be looking forward to this rematch since our last result against Germany was not very favourable."

Osieck is excited about the prospect of facing off against his homeland. He said: "This will be a very special match and a great opportunity to test ourselves against a very well-respected opponent. The German National team has a very rich and successful football history with a very talented group of current players. But I am confident that our players will be up for the challenge against such quality opposition."

Meanwhile, Osieck arrived in Sydney on Friday, where he will set up a new home as he bases himself in his new country of employment. At his first press conference on Australian soil, the former Canada boss said he was willing to give A-League players every chance to push for Socceroos selection.

Former boss Piim Verbeek famously criticised the quality of the A-League but the standard of the competition has jumped significantly in recent seasons. Osieck will shake off the jetlag to watch Brisbane Roar host Adelaide United and Central Coast visit Gold Coast this weekend.

Osieck said he received a positive impression of the mentality of Australian players from his first two matches in charge, two friendlies in Europe.

"For the games against Switzerland and Poland I had a chance to work with the players on the pitch and I got a good impression already," he said. "I was quite happy with what I could see and I really appreciated the open-mindedness of the players who were very receptive to my ideas of what I wanted down the road.

"I think the strengths of Australian players are pretty familiar to me. I followed Australian football when I worked for FIFA, particularly the Olympic team in 2004, the Socceroos team at the Confederations Cup in 2005 and through to the World Cup the following year so I have a fair picture of the potential of Australian football."

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