Germany back line to feature three changes from previous XI as Philipp Lahm moves from right-back to midfield.Injury-blighted Germany will feature a makeshift line-up tonight as they take on Azerbaijan in Baku. The withdrawal of holding midfielders Sami Khedira and Simon Rolfes prompted Joachim Low to call up Sebastian Rudy as a replacement, but the Hoffenheim man has not been granted a starting berth.
Instead, Philipp Lahm will take on the role of partnering Toni Kroos in defensive midfield, according to the official DFB (German FA) website. Normally a right-back, Lahm played in a holding midfield role once before, against England in 2007.
The promotion of Lahm to midfield means that Low has been forced to make changes to his defence. Benedikt Howedes will earn his first start at right-back, and Holger Badstuber and Dennis Aogo have displaced previous starters Arne Friedrich and Marcel Schmelzer. The only defender retained from Germany's previous 2-1 win against Austria is Mats Hummels, who will play in the centre of defence.
In attack, Low has retained his previous front four of Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski and Mario Gomez, and in goal, Manuel Neuer remains No. 1.
Azerbaijan will take on a 4-1-4-1 formation as they did in their previous match against Kazakhstan, but will feature five changes.
Following his team's recent loss, Berti Vogts has replaced full-back Maksim Medvedev with Elnur Allahverdiev, and centre-back Vladimir Levin with Vergun Huseynov. In midfield, Rashad Abulfaz Sadygov and Javid Huseynov will make way for Aleksandr Chertoganov and Vuqar Nadirov. Vagif Javadov has been promoted from midfield to attack, replacing Rauf Aliyev, leaving space for Rahid Amirquliev to fit into the starting line-up.
Azerbaijan starting XI: Agayev; Melikov, R.F. Sadygov, Huseynov, Allahverdiev; Abishov; Ismayilov, Chertoganov, Amirquliev, Nadirov; Javadov
Subs: Yunisoglu, Isayev, Veliyev, Medvedev, Huseynov, Levin, R.A. Sadygov,
Germany starting XI: Neuer; Howedes, Hummels, Badstuber, Aogo; Lahm, Kroos; Muller, Ozil, Podolski; Gomez
Subs: Adler, Holtby, Schmelzer, Friedrich, Rudy, Gotze, Schurrle