No sketchy report tonight – all of Germany’s home games are being aired on ESPN, so I will be watching the game live and providing my own biased journalistic take on proceedings as they happen. Sort of like Bild, but with a more subtle writing style.
Germany has been drawn against Azerbaijan for the second qualification round in succession, and the fixture sees another coming together between the Mannschaft and former Nationaltrainer Berti Vogts. Der Terrier has certainly shaped up the Azeris, but Joachim Löw and his team should be expected to find their rhythm after what was a very fractured opening game against Belgium. Germany won this home fixture 4-0 last time around, and I would hope to expect a similar scoreline this evening.
The team will see a slight adjustment: Marcell Jansen is unfit, and I would expect his place to be taken by Heiko Westermann in a straight exchange. There had been slight problems for Bastian Schweinsteiger in training, but at my latest check he appears to have been passed fir to start. The only other question mark had been than raised against Lukas Podolski, whose place in the side is under threat following his poor performance against Belgium; he has probably been saved by the fact that this evening’s game is being held at his home ground in Köln. Let’s hope it gives him inspiration.
Tonight’s fixture will also be Miroslav Klose’s 103rd appearance in the Schwarz und Weiß, drawing him level with the great Franz Beckenbauer at number four on the all-time list behind Lothar Matthäus (150), Jürgen Klinsmann (108) and Jürgen Kohler (105). Following his 51st minute strike against Belgium on Friday, the Bayern frontman now needs fifteen goals to equal Gerd Müller’s national goalscoring record.
Lineup: Neuer – Lahm, Mertesacker, Badstuber, Westermann – Khedira, Schweinsteiger – Thomas Müller, Özil, Podolski – Klose
Subs: Adler, Wiese, Riether, Kroos, Marin, Träsch, Cacau, Gomez, Kießling