Germany vs. Kazahkstan: Complete World Cup Qualifying Preview
Germany and Kazakhstan face off on Tuesday for the second time in four days. Die Mannschaft won the first encounter, played in Astana, by a comfortable score of 3-0. And now they prepare to take on the central Asian nation in Nurnberg, with kickoff scheduled for 3:45 p.m. EST.
The result in Astana left Joachim Low's side five points clear of Sweden in Group C of UEFA's World Cup qualifying tournament. Germany have only dropped points once thus far, in a 4-4 draw with the Swedes last October. Kazakhstan have earned just one point, from a scoreless draw at home with Austria.
Friday's match saw Low shuffle his tactics and usual starting XI. Mario Gotze started as a false 9, with Julian Draxler deputizing for the suspended Marco Reus on the wing. In defense, injuries to Mats Hummels and Holger Badstuber meant that Low was forced to field Per Mertesacker and Benedikt Howedes.
Low will certainly make adjustments to his lineup for the second match. Reus returns from his ban, but Bastian Schweinsteiger is now suspended. And with Toni Kroos having withdrawn due to injury, Ilkay Gundogan is likely to start in defensive midfield.
Elsewhere, Draxler has been sent home due to a concussion, while Howedes and Mario Gomez are questionable due to thigh injuries. Sven Bender, who missed the trip to Astana, has recovered from illness and will be available to play in Nurnberg. Additionally, Marcell Jansen and Patrick Herrmann were called up to the German team on Sunday.
The questionable state of the only true striker, Gomez, coupled with Germany's success using Gotze in the centre-forward role means Low will likely use the Dortmund man again as the focal point in attack.
Kazakhstan players picked up three bookings in total on Friday, but all avoided suspension meaning that Miroslav Beranek should have nearly a full squad to choose from. Maksat Baizhanov was withdrawn after just 36 minutes in the match in Astana, and as of yet it remains unclear whether his substitution was for tactical reasons or due to an injury. If the latter, he may be unavailable on Tuesday.
The match in Astana was very one-sided, but hope springs eternal for the Kazakhs, who managed to upset Germany's neighbors, Austria, with a draw last October.
Be sure to return to Bleacher Report for all the latest news on Germany vs. Kazakhstan before, during and after Tuesday's match.
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