Germany face the arduous trip to the banks of the Caspian Sea to face Azerbaijan on Wednesday evening with a crucial three World Cup qualification points up for grabs. Sitting in the host’s dugout will be former German World Cup winner and manager, Berti Vogts – adding spice to a fixture that normally would be considered no more than an awkward inconvenience on the visitor’s route to South Africa.
Joachim Low’s side currently lie top of qualification in Group Four on 16 points, one clear of Russia with four games remaining. With a top two finish more or less assured Germany will see this match as an opportunity to stamp their authority all over the group. They still have a difficult trip to Moscow on the horizon in a match which may see the winner top the group, therefore making tomorrow’s game in Baku all the more important.
Azerbaijan have only amassed one point from their five games thus far; failing to score in any match. It’s a stat that Vogts is not proud of, but he’s looking forward to the visit of his former team, “Germany are going to win the group, no ifs, no buts, and in my opinion are one of the real favourites for the World Cup. The team are strong from one through to 11. I owe my entire career to the German Football Association, but scoring against Germany would be like winning first prize in the lottery for my team.”
For the Germans they can enter the fray without too many injury concerns. Captain Michael Ballack appears to have recovered from a broken toe after featuring in Chelsea’s Community Shield victory over Manchester United. Lukas Podolski misses out with a thigh injury and Kevin Kuranyi continues to be omitted from the squad. However, Miroslav Klose has made the trip after coming through Bayern Munich’s fixture at the weekend.
Despite the presence of Vogts as opposition manager along with the hassles of distance travelled and meagre surroundings, the visitor’s should have more than enough to overcome Azerbaijan. The match is taking place at the start of a new season with fresh minds and fresh legs. An away victory is critical to Germany’s qualification aspirations and as we’re now at the business end of the group expect to see some trademark efficiency applied.
Prediction: Azerbaijan 0 Germany 4
Date: Wed 11th Aug
Referee: Alan Kelly (IRL)
Kick Off: 5pm GMT/9pm Local
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