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article imageOp-Ed: World Cup Qualifying-Kazakhstan vs Germany Preview

By Karl Gotthardt     Mar 21, 2013 in Sports
Astana - The Bundesliga is taking a break this weekend to make way for World Cup 2014 qualification. Germany will face Kazakhstan in two matches, the first one on March 22 in Kazakhstan, the other in Germany on March 26. Germany is the favorite of experts.
The German squad has arrived in Kazakhstan, which has a time difference of five hours from Central Europe. Add to that the fact that the match will be on artificial turf, Germany's squad will require a few adjustments. The squad has decided not to adjust their clocks and keep them on CET, which is also accommodated by the fact that the game will be played at night to accommodate TV coverage in Germany. The game will be broadcast in Canada on GolTV at 1:55 pm ET.
The second concern for the German side is the artificial turf. Although many of the younger players have played on artificial turf, the ball reacts different and moves faster, requiring and adjustment of the game, by keeping passes flat and short. The saving grace is a covered arena, which prevents a wet pitch should it rain.
DFB reports
that all of the 20 squad members are fit, without injury. Sven and Lars Bender, along with Toni Kroos were not called up due to injury.
Soccerway reported
that German coach Joachim Loew questioned the right of the so called "soccer minnows" to compete with Germany. Kazakhstan will have an opportunity to prove him wrong.
In an interview with Kicker magazine, Germany coach Loew said he doubted if it 'made sporting sense' for the major European nations to play against minnows like 'Kazakhstan, Andorra, San Marino or the Faroe Islands'.
Germany has won three of their four starts, with ten point are on top of Group C, while Kazakhstan is second to last with just one point. Germany has won three of their last five matches and drawn two, with 18-6 goals. Kazakhstan lost four and had a draw in one, with 4-8 goals.
The German national side brings the players of the top two Bundesliga sides, FC Bayern Muenchen and Borussia Dortmund together, many of them guaranteed a spot on the World Cup 2014 squad. FC Bayern is represented by Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Jerome Boateng, Thomas Müller and Mario Gomez, while Borussia Dortmund has stalwarts like n Mario Götze, Marco Reus, Ilkay Gündogan and Marcel Schmelzer. Bayern's Toni Kroos and Dortmund's Matts Hummels are not part of the squad due to injury, but will certainly be part of the World Cup 2014 team.
According to Bild, Mario Gomez will not be playing in Friday`s match. The only real striker available on the DFB side sustained an injury during the preparation training in Astana. Jogi Loew, who had already been toying with the idea of using Mario Goetze in the number 9 striker position, will use the versatile Dortmund player in that position. He will be supported by midfielders Podolski (Arsenal), Oezil (Real Madrid) and Thomas Mueller (FC Bayern).
All things being equal, Germany should come out on top despite artificial turf and time difference. All of Loew's players have international experience, which will help. There are no big stars on the Kazakhstan side, but never underestimate your opponent. Loew will most certainly experiment. Below is a possible line up for the German side:
Neuer-Lahm,Mertesacker,Boateng, Schmelzer, Schweinsteiger, Khedira, Muller, Ozil, Podolski, Gotze
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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