Israel will host Germany in an international friendly on March 25, 2015, to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations between the countries, the Israel Football Association announced on Sunday.
The IFA and German national soccer federation DFB agreed on the date of the tie on Saturday after Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sports Limor Livnat had come to an initial understanding with German Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maiziere when he was in Israel as part of the German cabinet’s visit to the country in February.
“The Israeli and German associations cooperate on many matters,” said IFA chairman Avi Luzon. “We have an excellent relationship and I’m sure this match will be a great experience for the Israeli fans.”
Israel will play Germany three days before it hosts Wales in the blue-and-white’s fifth Euro 2016 qualifier. The national team opens its qualifying campaign against Belgium at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on September 9.
“It is a great honor and massive challenge to face one of the best teams in the world,” said Israel coach Eli Gutman. “I’m sure that everyone who comes to the match will enjoy some quality play.”
Three-time world and European champion Germany faces Algeria in the last 16 of the World Cup on Monday.
“The match between the two teams is significant evidence of the excellent relations between both associations and both countries,” said DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach.
Beitar owner Tabib speaks In other Israeli soccer news, Beitar Jerusalem owner Eli Tabib called for patience and promised to rebuild the club in its season opening press conference on Sunday.
Tabib, who will have his ownership of the club reevaluated by the IFA after he was convicted on Thursday of assaulting a minor and obstruction of justice at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court, refused to answer any questions and only made a short statement.
“We are facing a very significant season for the future of Beitar Jerusalem,” he said. “The club wants to return to the forefront of Israeli soccer. Patience will be the key to everything. You can’t build a strong, stable and good club in 10 months.”
Tabib was found guilty of attacking a minor with his bodyguard outside his home in March 2012 and erasing the footage of the incident from his computer after it was captured by his security cameras.
The teenager was protesting against Tabib’s ownership of Hapoel Tel Aviv as part of a long and relentless campaign by many of the club’s fans aimed at ousting the then-owner.
Tabib ultimately left Hapoel a few months later in the summer of 2012 and purchased the ownership of Beitar last summer, ending Arkadi Gaydamak’s eight years as boss.