Germany – Turkey Preview: Joachim Loew without a host of key players for Euro 2012 Qualifier
By Robin Bairner
A host of players have been forced to pull out of Joachim Loew’s squad, with perhaps the most notable absentee Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Philipp Lahm remains the captain as Michael Ballack is out injured, while striker Stefan Kiessling is another player not fit enough to feature.
Youngster Kevin Grosskreutz is also absent, though there is hope the left winger could return for the midweek encounter against Kazakhstan.
Fenerbahce’s Selcuk Sahin was named in the initial squad but has since pulled out due to injury. There remains a squad of 26 players, 21 of whom are domestically based.
No worries over form
It’s been a case of so far so good for both Germany and Turkey in Euro 2012 qualification to date, but at least one side will lose their perfect record when the countries do battle in Berlin on Friday evening.
After reaching the World Cup semi-final final with an exceptionally young team, there is pressure on Joachim Loew’s side not just to reach the finals, but to actually claim the competition. They’ve started in the right manner, edging past Belgium 1-0 on their travels and dispatching Azerbaijan 6-1 at home, but this forthcoming fixture is not so obvious.
Once again Loew’s squad will be formed largely around a strong contingent from domestic champions Bayern Munich, but die Roten’s form has been poor this season and there are very real worries that this could finally spill over to effect die Mannschaft.
Evidently, the coach does not buy such talk. “Their disappointing form at club level doesn't worry me,” he affirmed to the media, doubtless considering the case of Miroslav Klose, who was so poor for FCB last term but who rose to the occasion with the national team in South Africa. “It is something I had expected. The players have had an incredible World Cup and some of them are showing they have lost a bit of strength. That is normal.”
Loew has formed an exciting squad and a unit good enough to shrug off questionable club form when required on the big occasion, and with this widely considered to be Germany’s pivotal game in qualifying, expect to see die Mannschaft produce another strong performance to earn a positive result.
Thinking of a surprise
Like Germany, Turkey have made an excellent start in their quest to reach Poland and Ukraine in the summer of 2012. The Crescent Stars will ideally seek first place and an automatic spot in the European Championships, but at the very least they must go for second and a likely spot in the play-offs.
Kazakhstan and Belgium are also the sides previously seen off by the Turks, who claimed a 3-0 win in Astana before hosting les Diable Rouge, who took the lead before eventually succumbing 3-2 in a dramatic encounter.
Turkey may not have been as impressive as their opponents, but that has not stopped Halil Altintop talking up their chances of three points in Munich.
“It will not be an easy game, but we could surprise Germany,” the Eintracht Frankfurt forward told SPOX in the lead up to the game.
A proud side lead by the vastly experienced Guus Hiddink, Turkey will be going out for revenge following their dramatic 3-2 loss to die Mannschaft in the semi-final of Euro 2008, which they have never really recovered from.
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|Euro 2012 (EC)||7 Oct 2011||Turkey 1 - Germany 3|
|Euro 2012 (EC)||8 Oct 2010||Germany 3 - Turkey 0|
|UEFA Euro 2008 (EC)||25 Jun 2008||Germany 3 - Turkey 2|
|5 Mar 2014||Germany 1 - Chile 0||FR|
|19 Nov 2013||England 0 - Germany 1||FR|
|15 Nov 2013||Italy 1 - Germany 1||FR|
|15 Oct 2013||Sweden 3 - Germany 5||WCQE|
|11 Oct 2013||Germany 3 - Republic of Ireland 0||WCQE|
Mesut Oezil has already started to turn heads at Real Madrid after an excellent World Cup in which he proved to be one of Germany’s true on-field leaders.
Being of Turkish stock, the 21-year-old offensive midfielder will see Friday’s encounter as an extra-special affair, giving him the chance to pit his wits against the nation of his ancestors.
“My technique and feeling for the ball is the Turkish side to my game,” he has previously explained. Die Mannschaft could really use a good dose of his creativity on Friday.
A veteran of the Euro 2008 loss, Hamit Altintop will once again strive to lead his country to victory against the land of his birth.
The Bayern Munich midfielder was born in Gelsenkirchen but unlike Oezil chose to represent the land of his forefathers.
A player with an intimate knowledge of the home side due to his position on the FCB roster, he should be able to pinpoint potential weaknesses in the Germans.