After a dominating performance against the Republic of Ireland Germany looks to move one step closer to qualifying for the World Cup in 2014 when they host a Swedish team lead by current Paris Saint-Germane striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
German coach Joachim Loew understands that his team is favored to come away with full points when the two face off Tuesday at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium. That is why it would be foolish of the former footballer not to refocus a German squad who has faced little resistance in their World Cup qualifying campaign thus far, given that one more victory would see them through to the next round of qualifying in their bid to play in Brazil.
It is expected that Loew will only make a few changes to the German side that hammered the Republic of Ireland 6-1. Captain Philipp Lahm will be available after he served his suspension and will reportedly assume his right back position which was filled by Jerome Boateng during the last match. Marcel Schmelzer should be secure in his place on the left side of the back line.
Midfielder Sami Khedira was substituted during halftime against Ireland after he suffered a calf injury. Loew insisted that the Real Madrid player did not suffer a major injury and it is likely that he will sit as Toni Kroos looks to take over his midfield role. Kroos, who scored twice against Ireland, should do well to support Miroslav Klose, Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil and Marco Reus on the German attack.
In order to slow the onslaught of German players on the offensive, Ireland assistant coach Marco Tardelli said that Ireland used a 4-3-3 formation as a way to slow the pace of play through the midfield and to offer greater support to the defensive line. Swedish coach Erik Hamren would be smart to take that idea and execute more effectively.
While Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be the only recognizable player outside of Sweden it does not make the Swedes a team that can be overlooked. Arguably the second best team in the group, Sweden has rode the back of Ibrahimovic, but have continued to impress with solid defensive play.
After struggling against a lesser Faroe Islands team Hameren should consider players who are playing well even if they are less experienced. Fulham winger Alexander Kacaniklic should make the start after he came on for Los Angeles Galaxy winger Christian Wilhelmsson. Kacanikllic scored the equalizing goal a few minutes after he came on and has a good chance of replacing the veteran. Either Marcus Berg or Johan Elmander could come in for Mathias Ranegie up front.
Germany is currently ranked second in the world behind Spain and last failed to come away with full points from a qualifier over three years ago- they drew Finland 1-1 back in October 2009.
Kick-off for the match is at 2:45 EDT and can be watched online here.691915