The Germany captain Michael Ballack will be feeling confident after Chelsea’s victory over Man Utd in the Community Shield, and he seems to have totally recovered from his broken toe sustained during the preseason tour of America.
He is the lynchpin of the Germany team and will be looking to step a little closer to his last World Cup with a win over minnows Azerbaijan on Wednesday. They will move four points clear of Russia with a win, and they will go to Moscow in October looking to wrap up their qualification there.
But coach Joachim Loew wants the team to forget about Russia and concentrate on the job in hand. He said: “There’s too much talk of Moscow. We shouldn’t lose more points. First comes the away game in Baku, which will take place at the start of the Bundesliga season, so the players still won’t be match fit,”
“Moreover, it’s very warm and there’s a long journey – this game is difficult enough, so we must concentrate. Russia is not until October.”
This is conservative talk from the coach as six weeks ago his team beat the United Arab Emirates 7-2 in a friendly, and i don’t imagine it was played in a snowstorm!
Ballack will have some class players around him. Hitzlsperger, Schweinsteiger and Trochowski are expected to make up the midfield with Klose and Gomez in front of them in attack, and i expect them to score goals against a team that is yet to score a goal in this Qualifying campaign.
The only point Azerbaijan have gained was in the 0-0 draw with Liechtenstein but they have restricted Turkey, Russia and Wales to two goals or less recently. But will they be able to do the same to Germany tomorrow? I doubt it.
Mario Gomez finally broke his international goal drought in spectacular fashion with four goals against the UAE, and i expect the new Bayern Munich striker now to go on and prove it wasn’t a fluke.
Azerbaijan coach Berti Vogts has had his preparations for this game interrupted by the two top teams in Azerbaijan being involved in European Qualifiers, and with just one of his players coming from outside the local league, they can hardly live with the might of Germany.
I have a feeling that the Germans will record a big win here.