Germany to host Belgium for friendly as both teams rebuild

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Germany will host Belgium for a friendly match in March as both teams look to move on from disappointing group-stage exits at the World Cup, the German soccer federation said Friday.

Germany is hosting Peru in Mainz on March 25 for its first game since the World Cup and then welcomes Belgium in Cologne three days later.

As the host of next year's European Championship, Germany has an automatic place in the tournament and is playing friendlies instead of qualifying games. Belgium starts its qualifying campaign against Sweden on March 24 before facing Germany.

“Preparation for the home European Championship begins for us with Peru and Belgium," Germany coach Hansi Flick said in a statement. “We are looking forward to this tournament with great excitement and want to develop a passionate and energetic team that plays attractive and successful football for Germany.

“At this point,” he added, "we want to try out a few things, which means making bold and surprising decisions. We can’t wait for the matches, everyone is fired up and ready to get started.”

Germany has won 20 of its 25 games against Belgium in men's soccer but they haven't played since 2011.


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