Germany are set to play Spain for the first time in a rugby league international this Saturday, June 6, in Valencia, and Leeds threequarter Jimmy Keinhorst has been included in their squad.
Also included are his brothers Kristian and Nick. Germany co-head coach Simon Cooper is expecting a tough game.
A new governing body for German rugby league was formally recognised this week, the Nationaler Rugby League Deutschland.
Cooper is hoping to mark the beginning of the new era with a strong performance against the Spanish, who have been successful in their recent international outings.
“We are in a rebuilding phase in Germany, both on and off the field after a difficult period,” he said.
“We have a young, inexperienced squad that is missing the likes of Bene Rehm, Christoph Huber, Max Schöngen and others due to various reasons, but the coaching team have been very impressed with the commitment of the squad this year.
“It is probably the best prepared the side has ever been, due to a couple of training weekends and a number of the players being involved in technical courses that have been run this year by the RLEF.
“Spain is going to be a tough match for us and will help us see where we are and what we need to do, to help all our players in Germany improve.
“Our focus is very much on the development of our players rather than results this year. It will also be the last game for our captain, Kristian Keinhorst.
“The Keinhorst family has been great servants of the game in Germany and has played a big part in our development, not just on the field, but also off it.”
Spain beat Latvia last month to kick off their 2017 World Cup qualifying campaign, and they are unbeaten in their first three international matches.
Spain coach Darren Fisher is hoping that his squad, which includes players from nine clubs, can build on their previous good displays.
“The Germany game will be another great test match for us,” he said.
“We know the Germany side will be confident and it’s something we will aim to match. We have a couple of sessions before the game and we will be aiming to build on our last performance against Latvia.
“We must keep raising the level of our performances in the build up to European Championship C and I’m sure the challenge of our visitors this weekend will provide that for us.
“Our main focus will be to compete and start to really focus on completing our sets. It’s very exciting that these types of games are happening and it helps loads in our development.”
Spain 22-man Squad:
Hector D’Alessandro (Alcoià Comtat), Alejandro Gordon, Diego Lagunas, Hadriel Mego, Gonzalo Morro, Ezequiel Pérez-Fuster (Ciencias XIII Valencia), Hugo García, Iago Vázquez (Custodians Madrid), Ivan Ordaz (Eastmoor Dragons), Matt Dulley, Oli Giroguy, Juan Pablo Rango (Irreductibles Mislata), Alex Doutres (Palau XIII), Aitor Dàvila, Raul Simo (Tigres Torrent), Adrian Alonso, Carlos Aragones, Christian Domínguez, Joaquin Fraile, Andrew Pilkinton, Luis Thorp (Valencian Warriors), Daniel Garcia (Woolston Rovers)
Germany 20-man Squad:
Karsten Brüning, Simon Cooper, Mitchell Evers, Jannek Hagenah, Marco Kühne, Sebastian Peter (Karlshöfen), Mawuli Amefia, Matej Beslic, Sebastian Roczyn (Karlsruhe), Ben Behr-Heyder, Felix Buhla, Liam Doughton, Arne Falk, Fabrice Fehlemann, Vivien Seelweger, Marc Zupan (NRW Broncos), Andrew Hoggins (Oxford RLFC), Kristian Keinhorst, Nick Keinhorst (Leeds Akkies), Jimmy Keinhorst (Leeds Rhinos)