The Arsenal and Germany legend is hosting a homecoming game at his first club in Hannover with two star-studded lineups taking part
Per Mertesacker will play his final game of football this weekend as a team of former Hannover team-mates take on some of his ex-colleagues from Arsenal and other clubs.
The 34-year-old hung up his boots at the end of last season, taking up a position as Arsenal's academy director, following seven seasons at the London club. Before moving to the Premier League, the defender lined out for Hannover and then Werder Bremen and played 104 times for Germany.
During his career, he won three FA Cups as well as the DFB-Pokal and was also part of Germany's World Cup winning squad in 2014. He played over 500 times at club level, lining out in his last ever competitive game in May 2018.
On Saturday, the Merte's Homecoming game will see Merte's 96 Freunde (his Hannover 96 friends) take on Per's Weltauswahl (a world selection), with the charity game featuring some of the biggest names in German and world football, including Michael Ballack, Theo Walcott, Petr Cech and Martin Harnik.
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger takes charge of the world selection, who boast an attacking trio of Miroslav Klose, Max Kruse and Claudio Pizarro. The homecoming game takes place at the HDI Arena in Hannover, where local boy Mertesacker played his first professional game back in November 2003.
All proceeds from the game will go to the Per Mertesacker Foundation, whose aim is to help socially disadvantaged children through sport in the Hannover region.They have a special focus on children with a migrant background, children with a learning disability or children who come from poorer social classes.