Saturday's international friendly at Allianz Field presents a rested Minnesota United team approaching its midseason and SC Paderborn 07 from Bundesliga's second division, just starting its preseason.
Loons coach Adrian Heath intends to play right back Romain Metanire the first 45 minutes or more in what will be only his second game.
Heath also wants to use the evening to get players such as first-teamers Luis Amarilla, Adrien Hunou and Jacori Hayes more action and perhaps give reserve-team players Justin McMaster and Aziel Jackson some time as well.
"This is perfect for us, good timing," said Heath, whose team is two weeks into a three-week FIFA international break. "It'll be a good opportunity to get Romain on and some of the fringe guys will get some extra minutes. I'm more concerned with the likes of Amarilla and Hunou getting some extra minutes. The next couple months will be really busy so it'll be tough. This little break has been ideal."
SC Paderborn 07 will play its first game since its season ended in May. It is on a bonding two-game, 12-day tour with three stops — Minnesota, Madison, Wis., and Chicago — with 10 new players this preseason. It is the first Bundesliga 2 team to play an MLS team.
"We want to represent German football here," Paderborn assistant coach Eduard Schmidt said. "We want to show people what German football is like. Everyone knows Bayern Munich, Dortmund and the big teams. But the heart of German football is smaller clubs like us so that's what we'll try to represent here."
The Loons scheduled the friendly late in an extended schedule break that Heath calls "tricky" because it can be too long. His team last played May 28 and won't play another MLS game until June 19 at New England. That's the first of three road games in 11 days.
He doesn't know Paderborn well, but knows what the Loons face.
"It's preseason for them guys," Heath said. "Knowing the German leagues as I do, they'll be very, very fit, very, very prepared and very well organized. It'll be a good test."
Paderborn will also be well-traveled in their short time in Minnesota after the team arrived on Thursday. They drove by U.S. Bank Stadium, walked near their downtown Minneapolis hotel, visited a German immersion school in St. Paul and attended Friday night's Twins home game.
It's the first visit to the United States for center back and defensive midfielder Jasper van der Werff and many of his teammates.
"We saw the big towers and the weather is very nice, better than Germany at the moment," he said. "First impressions are nice."
Veteran defender Uwe Hunemeier was chosen to throw out the first pitch at Target Field.
Countryman Max Kepler started in right field and batted clean-up Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays.
"I think he is the only big baseball player in Germany," Schmidt said. "I've heard his name, but as you know Germans don't really follow baseball. Some will know him, but many not because baseball isn't a big German thing."