Euro 2012 qualifying preview: Austria - Germany
Hosts will hope to make up for lost ground while the Germans look to maintain a perfect record
By Clark Whitney
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Berger; Dragovic, Prodl, Pogatetz, Fuchs; Pehlivan, Bumgartlinger; Harnik, Juzonovic, Alaba; Janko
The most glaring omission from Didi Constantini's squad is Marko Arnautovic, who after some poor performances - and questionable behaviour - has been dropped. Andreas Ivanschitz has also failed to earn a call. The upcoming matches allow Constantini to experiment with his squad, which includes four uncapped players. Among them is Hans-Peter Berger, who will deputise for injured goalkeeper Jurgen Macho.
Constantini is unlikely to be overly aggressive and will likely start Marc Janko as a lone striker, meaning that Stefan Maierhofer, who only recently recovered from a metatarsal injury, will be relegated to the bench.
Neuer; Lahm, Friedrich, Hummels, Schmelzer; Khedira, Kroos; Muller, Ozil, Podolski; Gomez
Germany have suffered a blight of injuries in recent weeks, with Miroslav Klose and Christian Trasch the most recent candidates to drop out of Joachim Low's squad. In addition, Marco Reus, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sven Bender have been forced to withdraw, meaning that the coach will have a headache as he selects his defensive midfield pairing.
Sami Khedira may start after recovering from a hamstring problem, but Simon Rolfes remains an option in defensive midfield alongside Toni Kroos. In place of Klose, Mario Gomez will get the nod.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Austria are three points behind Belgium, but have a game in hand as they try to secure a spot as runners-up in Group A.
- The hosts will be very familiar with their opponents: five players in their squad play in the German Bundesliga.
- Constantini's men have lost their last two matches, prompting a shuffling of the squad ahead of their showdown with Germany.
- Young midfielder and full-back Daniel Royer has been promoted from the under-21 team and could make his first senior cap on Friday.
- The last time Austria faced Germany was at Euro 2008, on home soil. The final score read 1-0 to the visitors.
- Germany have a perfect 15 points from five Euro 2012 qualifiers.
- Die Mannschaft could book their spot at Euro 2012 with victories over Austria and Azerbaijan in their next two matches.
- Alongside the Netherlands, Low's squad boasts Europe's best goal difference in qualifiers, with the second-highest goals scored tally, and joint-best defensive record.
- The last time Germany failed to qualify for a major tournament was in 1968, when they missed out on the European Championships.
- Mario Gomez has scored in his last two international matches.
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Top 3 Predictions
Austria 0-3 Germany
- 28.05 %
Austria 0-2 Germany
- 19.09 %
Austria 1-3 Germany
- 15.32 %
|World Cup Qualifying - UEFA (WCQ)||Sep 6, 2013||Germany 3 - Austria 0|
|World Cup Qualifying - UEFA (WCQ)||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||Austria 1 - United States 0||FR|
|Oct 15, 2013||Faroe Islands 0 - Austria 3||WCQ|
|Oct 11, 2013||Sweden 2 - Austria 1||WCQ|
|Sep 10, 2013||Austria 1 - Ireland 0||WCQ|
|Sep 6, 2013||Germany 3 - Austria 0||WCQ|
Versatility in wide areas is especially needed when facing a strong team like Germany, and Fuchs is just the man to provide support at both ends of the pitch. The 25-year old will take on the difficult task of marking Thomas Muller, but will also have to get forward to deliver the ball to the forwards.
With Klose sidelined, Germany need Gomez to bring his Bayern Munich form to the international stage. The striker has historically struggled for country, but he has given hope that there is a future past Klose by scoring in each of his two international matches.
Austria always bring their best game when facing their neighbours, and Friday's match should be no different. When these teams met at Euro 2008, only a Michael Ballack free kick separated the two teams. In this case, the visitors will have a better, if less experienced, team that ought to be able to grind out another victory.