The German team travels south on Wednesday to face their last opponent, three-time world champion Italy, in the 14th edition of the World League in the cities of Trieste and Verona on Friday and Sunday.
Both teams are out to defend their position on the Pool B table. Italy wants to retain the top spot to put them in the box seat for the finals in Madrid, while Germany wants to hang on to third place ahead of Portugal and pick up another five world ranking points.
National trainer Stelian Moculescu is using this last clash to give libero Sebastian Prüsener a run against one of the best teams in the world. Prüsener has been named instead of Till Lieber who has appeared in this role for the other matches. Up to the end of June Prüsener, 23, was busy with examinations wrapping up the study year and was unavailable for the earlier matches. Prüsener, who plays for SCC Berlin, was named in the national squad on June 9.
Moculecsu made it clear at the press conference in Leipzig that Marco Liefke would be able to rely on Prüsener's presence from the start of the match. Liefke himself delivered a particularly strong performance against Portugal last week in what was his 200th appearance in the national team.
The matches against Italy wind up the World league season for Germany and the team then make a break of two weeks to regenerate before moving into concentrated preparation for the European Championship, which Germany hosts in September.
The squad reassembles on July 16, probably in Friedrichshafen, for training and friendly matches are planned in Tunisia and against Romania as well as a tournament in Poland. Another two matches against Russia and Serbia and Montenegro are also on the program.
The German lineup plays Italy in Trieste (June 27 at 2000) and Verona (June 29, 1530).
Squad: Björn Andrae, Christian Pampel, Norbert Walter, Ilja Wiederschein (all from VfB Friedrichshafen), Frank Dehne, Marco Liefke, Eugen Bakumovski (all from SCC
Berlin), Ralph Bergmann (Knack Roeselare, belgium), Wolfgang Kuck
(Montpellier UC, France), Mark Siebeck (PZU AZS Olsztyn, Poland), Georg
Wiebel (Noliko Maaseik, Belgium), Sebastian Prüsener (TSV Unterhaching)