World Cup Qualifying Preview: Germany - Austria
Joachim Low's side could secure its place at the World Cup with six points from its next two games, but is 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 hopes to continue its unbeaten record in qualifying.
Joachim Low's side has won five of its six fixtures in the group and tops 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 the team safely on the plane for next summer's finals in Brazil - and Germany has an excellent record against its neighbor.
Germany has won its last eight matches against Austria and midfielder Sami Khedira is confident the team 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 practice 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 euros.
Ozil's arrival at the Emirates Stadium has been the subject of much discussion, with several Real teammates, 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 defense, having conceded nine goals in three friendlies throughout May, June and August, including a 4-3 defeat to United States.
Austria - which has a crucial qualifier against Republic of Ireland to follow on Tuesday - lost its 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 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.
Top 3 Predictions
Germany 3-0 Austria
- 16.57 %
Germany 3-1 Austria
- 15.86 %
Germany 4-0 Austria
- 7.99 %
|WCQ 2014 (UEFA) (WCQE)||Sep 6, 2013||Germany 3 - Austria 0|
|WCQ 2014 (UEFA) (WCQE)||Sep 11, 2012||Austria 1 - Germany 2|
|European Championship Qualification 2012 (EC)||Sep 2, 2011||Germany 6 - Austria 2|
|European Championship Qualification 2012 (EC)||Jun 3, 2011||Austria 1 - Germany 2|
|UEFA Euro 2008 (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 - Ireland Republic 0||WCQE|
|Sep 10, 2013||Faroe Isl. 0 - Germany 3||WCQE|