Six More Points On Offer...

After the bizarre opening fixture of 2013/14 against Paraguay, the serious stuff starts up again with a World Cup Qualifier double header against Austria and the Faroe Islands. With six points on offer, Joachim Löw’s side will have the opportunity to set themselves on the finishing straight on the road to next year’s finals in Brazil.

There are no great surprises in the twenty-four man squad for the games in Munich and Tórshavn, with the only changes being enforced by injuries. İlkay Gündoğan, Marcell Jansen and Lukas Podolski are all out of contention, while the FC Bayern München trio of Toni Kroos, Bastian Schweinsteiger and new signing Mario Götze are back in.

With the squad being slightly larger than the one named for the Paraguay match, there is also room for others. Hannover’s Ron-Robert Zieler nudges ahead of Marc-André ter Stegen and veteran Roman Weidenfeller to take the third goalkeeper’s slot behind Manuel Neuer and René Adler, while Bayer Leverkusen’s Sidney Sam and Borussia Mönchengladbach’s new signing Max Kruse earn a place after following up their impressive showing on the US tour with a good start to the domestic season. Sam joins a talented cadre of thirteen midfielders, while youngster Kruse joins the Mannschaft’s two Italian legionnaires Mario Gómez and Miroslav Klose.

The match against Austria at Munich’s Allianz Arena is probably the team’s toughest fixture out of four remaining matches, and a win should almost certainly put too much of a gap between Löw’s side and the chasing pack. The last meeting between the two sides would see Germany win a hard-fought encounter 2-1 in Vienna, and in front of a home crowd Germany would expect to pick up all three points – however the combination of a weak defence that was badly exposed against Paraguay in Kaiserslautern and a determined Austrian side means that nothing can be taken for granted.

Germany’s record against their southern neighbours is impressive: they have not lost since a 1986 friendly in Vienna, and to find their last defeat in a competitive match one would have to go way back to the infamous World Cup second round defeat in Córdoba – which would take place twelve days after the birth of Klose, the oldest player in the current German squad.

The visit to the blustery Faroe Islands should also see a three-point return, but with the islanders making up for their serious lack of class with grit and determination nothing is a given. The Faroes would put up enough of a fight to limit the Germans to a 3-0 win in Hannover earlier in the qualifying round, and nobody should forget the last meeting in Tórshavn, when Rudi Völler’s side would struggle to overcome a limited but game Faroese outfit as they secured a flattering win with two goals in the final two minutes.

In addition to producing a six-point return, these two matches should hopefully also see the reaching of three individual milestones. Klose should have another opportunity to equal Gerd Müller’s all-time national team goalscoring record, while both skipper Philipp Lahm and vice-captain Schweinsteiger should both win their one-hundredth cap, making them the eighth and ninth players to reach the mark. Lahm, currently on 99 caps, would be expected to hit his century on his home ground in Münich, while Bayern team mate Schweinsteiger, on 98, should reach his century in the slightly less glamourous surroundings of Tórshavn’s 6,040-capacity Tórsvøllur.

Amazingly, both players will join the injured Podolski – Germany’s seventh centurion – in reaching the mark inside a decade whilst still in their twenties.


René Adler (Hamburger SV, 12/0)
Manuel Neuer (FC Bayern München, 39/0)
Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover 96, 2/0)


Jérôme Boateng (FC Bayern München, 30/0)
Benedikt Höwedes (FC Schalke 04, 14/1)
Mats Hummels (BV 09 Borussia Dortmund, 25/1)
Marcell Jansen (Hamburger SV, 39/3)
Philipp Lahm (FC Bayern München, 99/5)
Per Mertesacker (Arsenal FC, 91/2)
Marcel Schmelzer (BV 09 Borussia Dortmund, 12/0)


Lars Bender (Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 15/4)
Sven Bender (BV 09 Borussia Dortmund, 4/0)
Julian Draxler (FC Schalke 04, 6/1)
Mario Götze (FC Bayern München, 22/5)
Sami Khedira (Real Madrid CF, 40/3)
Toni Kroos (FC Bayern München, 35/4)
Thomas Müller (FC Bayern München, 42/14)
Mesut Özil (Real Madrid CF, 47/14)
Lukas Podolski (Arsenal FC, 110/46)
Marco Reus (BV 09 Borussia Dortmund, 16/7)
Sidney Sam (Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 2/0)
André Schürrle (Chelsea FC, 25/7)
Bastian Schweinsteiger (FC Bayern München, 98/23)


Mario Gómez (ACF Fiorentina, 59/25)
Miroslav Klose (SS Lazio, 128/67)
Max Kruse (Borussia Mönchengladbach, 2/1)

Six More Points On Offer…

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