Germany-Austria Preview: Unbeaten hosts just two wins away from qualifying
Joachim Low's side could secure their place at the World Cup with six points from their next two games, but are missing Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Gotze and Ilkay Gundogan
By James Willoughby
The Allianz Arena in Munich will play host to the Group C encounter, as Germany hope to continue their unbeaten record in qualifying.
Joachim Low's side have won five of their six fixtures in the group and top the standings with 16 points, with Austria, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland all on 11 points as they battle for second.
A win on Friday for Germany, coupled with victory over the Faroe Islands next week, will see them safely on the plane for next summer's finals in Brazil - and they have an excellent record against their neighbours.
Germany have won their last eight matches against Austria and midfielder Sami Khedira is confident they can make it nine in a row.
"I think they will be two really important games," the Real Madrid man said.
"They can help us get our ticket for the World Cup. We have a week ahead of us, where we can practise more intensely and find ourselves. We are fitter and mentally fresh."
Much focus will be on attacking midfielder Mesut Ozil, who joined Arsenal on transfer deadline day from Real Madrid for a reported fee of €50 million.
Ozil's arrival at the Emirates Stadium has been the subject of much discussion, with several Real team-mates, including Khedira, voicing their displeasure at his departure, but the 24-year-old scored in the reverse fixture against Austria last year.
Meanwhile, Germany will be without midfield trio Bastian Schweinsteiger (knee), Mario Gotze (ankle) and Ilkay Gundogan (back) due to injury, with the likes of Sidney Sam and Max Kruse given an opportunity in their absence.
Low will also have concerns about his side's defence, having conceded nine goals in three friendlies throughout May, June and August, including a 4-3 defeat to United States.
Austria - who have a crucial qualifier against Republic of Ireland to follow on Tuesday - lost their last game, suffering a 2-0 friendly defeat against Greece last month.
A three-match unbeaten run preceded that loss, which included a 2-1 win over Sweden and a 6-0 thrashing of the Faroe Islands.
David Alaba has been an unlikely source for goals for Austria, with the versatile 21-year-old scoring three times in their five matches in 2013.
The Bayer Munich defender is one of nine German-based players in the Austria squad and they will be quietly hopeful of pulling off an upset after running Low's men close in the reverse fixture.
Germany won 2-1 in Vienna last September thanks to goals from Marco Reus and Ozil.
|Sign up today with Ladbrokes and get a $20 welcome bonus!|
Top 3 Predictions
Germany 3-0 Austria
- 16.57 %
Germany 3-1 Austria
- 15.86 %
Germany 4-0 Austria
- 7.99 %
|World Cup 2014 (Europe) (WCQE)||Sep 6, 2013||Germany 3 - Austria 0|
|World Cup 2014 (Europe) (WCQE)||Sep 11, 2012||Austria 1 - Germany 2|
|Euro 2012 (EC)||Sep 2, 2011||Germany 6 - Austria 2|
|Euro 2012 (EC)||Jun 3, 2011||Austria 1 - Germany 2|
|UEFA European Championship (EC)||Jun 16, 2008||Austria 0 - Germany 1|
|Nov 19, 2013||England 0 - Germany 1||FR|
|Nov 15, 2013||Italy 1 - Germany 1||FR|
|Oct 15, 2013||Sweden 3 - Germany 5||WCQE|
|Oct 11, 2013||Germany 3 - Republic of Ireland 0||WCQE|
|Sep 10, 2013||Faroe Islands 0 - Germany 3||WCQE|