World Cup 2014 Qualifying Campaign Index


Friday, 22 March 2013

World Cup 2014 Group C qualifier

"It was our duty to win here."

Thomas Müller 20', 74', Mario Götze 22',

Taking to the field without a main striker in a much-discussed 'False 9' formation, Germany made the 4,000 km journey back from Kazakhstan with another three points in the bag after a solid victory.

Germany put three past Kazakhstan in Astana
Germany march on in Astana
Unbeaten Germany coast past Kazakhstan - from

Löw pleased with Germany display

"It was our duty to win here, of course, and I think it was all over at half-time," he said on ZDF television.
"We led 2-0 and took the pace out of the game and that is why there was less rhythm in the game in the second half, but we only came here to win and we did that."
(playing without an out-and-out striker)  "It gives us another option and an alternative," said Löw.
"It's not like we want to do away with the classic number nine, but we want to be a bit more unpredictable. We have Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez and we still need players like that."
Striker-less Germany ease past Kazakhstan to stay top
"The game was essentially decided in the first half and we took some of the pace off afterwards," Löw told ZDF German television. "We wanted to win and that is what is important. "As for the discussion about the striker, I see this as an option. The offensive midfielder has to be dangerous in front of goal and we want to make our game a bit varied."
Victory all that mattered for Germany, says Löw
(Starting Julian Draxler over Lukas Podolski)  "Lukas hadn't played for a few weeks and Draxler impressed on the training pitch after some fine performances for Schalke," he continued. "I wanted to see how Julian would do from the beginning. No player is guaranteed a starting berth and the players should feel the pressure."
What We Learned from Kazakhstan vs Germany
Match report and player ratings from

Joachim Löw: "Die Nachlässigkeiten ärgern mich" - Jogi answers questions on He says his side lost the ball a little too easily and were somewhat too open, but that the goal had been sealed halfway through, and he was never worried about the game getting out of hand, despite some rallying from Kazakhstan.
Bundestrainer Löw: "Wie im Feldhandball" - in a post-match interview Jogi talks about the tactics employed by Kazakhstan, that it was too great a risk to allow Mario Gomez to play, never playing without a number nine, and the dangers of complacency in playing an opponent you have just beaten.

More clips from the game and afterwards on this ZDF report

Match highlights

Post-match interview on ZDF


Starting line-up:
Manuel Neuer, Marcel Schmelzer, Benedikt Höwedes, Per Mertesacker, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger (Ilkay Gundogan 82'), Julian Draxler (Lukas Podolski 19'), Mario Götze, Mesut Özil, Sami Khedira, Thomas Müller (Andre Schürrle 82')

It was announced, early afternoon, through the website that Mario Gomez is out of the match tonight, having picked up a thigh strain in training last night. - 22 March 2013

Jogi is interviewed by ZDF
Training, Astana, 21 March 2013

Arrival in Astana, 21 March 2013

I don't want to get rid of strikers, says Germany's Löw
Speaking in a crowded room ahead of Friday's World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan, Löw said he had not yet decided how he would set up his team.
"It is not that I want to get rid of strikers," Löw told reporters. "I merely said that it is good if your opponent does not have to prepare always against just one player type."
"Obviously we are happy to have (strikers) Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose in the team."
Löw has been experimenting without a designated striker for some time, after their semi-final loss to Italy at Euro 2012.
Löw, who has said shorter midfielders could be more dangerous up front than physically big strikers, has yet to decide whether to start with Gomez, the only forward left after Klose's injury, or pick the diminutive Mario Götze.
"This is something I still have to decide," Löw said.
"I have not forgotten that the last time (during the Euro 2012 qualifiers) it was 0-0 at halftime," he said. "We have no fear but we respect the Kazakhs. They are physically strong and very motivated."
To keep his players in rhythm despite a five-hour time difference with Germany, Löw will keep all clocks on German time during their short trip to the outer fringes of the European continent.
Training for Friday has been set for just before midnight local time on Friday and bedtime at 0400 local time which is 2300 in Germany.

Löw: "Alle Mann an Bord" - 21 March 2013
Points from Jogi's press conference on arriving in Astaa:
- Jogi emphasised that he did not include Kazakhstan the 'ninth largest nation in the world' when he spoke about the small football nations earlier in the week. From a his point of view as a coach, they do play a couple too many games, hence his comment. But, from a political perspective, he is aware that these games are a highlight for the smaller nations, and thus they like to play against Kazakhstan.
Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski are all fit, but will decide after game tomorrow whether to call up anyone Saturday.

"We must not underestimate Kazakhstan", he said "This team will fight tooth and nail" - from

Blitzlichtgewitter in Astana - Kasachen feiern Jogi Löw wie einen Popstar - Jogi is mobbed 'like a popstar' by local fans as he arrives in Astana, says Focus!

Video of the arrival in Astana, from, plus footage from the press conferene

Training, Frankfurt, 20 March 2013

Löw considering 'False 9'
"I've been considering the idea for a while," said Löw from the squad's pre-flight base in Frankfurt. "The idea is to have different players go up front [during a game], who of course have to look to finish and be threats in front of goal."

Training, Frankfurt, 19 March 2013

An interview with Jogi on
Germany lose Kroos, Lars & Sven Bender - 18 March 2013.
It was announced the following day there would be no replacement call-ups.

Germany coach Joachim Low said World Cup and European Championship competitions should have pre-qualifying round for so-called smaller nations.
"I think it can be discussed whether it makes sense to play twice against countries like Kazakhstan, Andorra, San Marino or the Faroe Islands," he said in Kicker magazine.
"I personally would be in favour of a pre-qualification event. The calendar is already saturated and some help is needed."
Low said international football would benefit if smaller nations had to earn the right to take part in qualifying for major tournaments.
Low says games like the upcoming home and away matches against Kazakhstan could be avoided if the majority of lower-ranked nations were sifted out of qualifying by battling it out for a limited number of places in advance.

Press Conference, DFB Headquarters, Frankfurt, 14 March 2013

The main topic of conversation prior to the announcement of the squad was whether Jogi would recall Stefan Kiessling, in great form in the Bundesliga for Bayer Leverkusen. However, the coach went with only one out-and-out striker, Mario Gomez, in the absence of Miroslav Klose through injury.

Germany's Löw snubs Kiessling, mulls striker-free future

"This squad of 20 in-field players is enough for me," Löw told reporters. "This quality is enough for these games and I have enough options up front."
(On Kiessling)  "He has his qualities, he has shown he can score but it is also a matter of philosophy."
"I have been thinking about it a lot, about dangerous players who can switch positions. If they play with variety you don't have to have a centre forward." "To have this flexibility and variety can surprise the opponents, either as an option to start like that or during the game."
"It may be a thing of the future not to have the big, physical strikers but rather those who can move in very tight spaces," Löw said.

"Even if Miro is not available, I have enough options and quality up front to implement our philosophy, to play the sort of combination football that I like to see played," Löw said. - from si

Germany missing Reus, Klose for World Cup qualifying
"The expectations are that we win both games. We are the favorites and we accept this role," Löw said Thursday. "Kazakhstan has improved over the past two years, they are not so naive in the defense any longer. I expect them to be physical and compact in the defense. But I have already written in the six points from these games."
Jogi added that Kazakhstan are developing as a football nation. The players want to prove themselves and attract attention of European clubs.

Schweinsteiger back for Germany

"In qualifying for Euro 2012 we experienced how awkward Kazakhstan are to play against," said Löw. "We didn't score until after the break in Astana. But obviously our aim has to be to pick up two wins against them. We're only concentrating on ourselves and are 100 per cent focused on qualification. That's our target this year."
Low backs Bayern shotstopper
He said: "At the moment, Manuel is and remains our number one in goal.
"We plan for him to play both games against Kazakhstan. "The pecking order behind him is wide open. Rene Adler proved his extraordinary quality recently against France and we have very good alternatives with him and Ron-Robert Zieler.
Bundestrainer Joachim Löw lobt Frankfurt-Keeper Kevin Trapp
Jogi also praised Frankfurt keeper Kevin Trapp, and spoke of his outstanding games this season. Jogi said however there was no need to make a decision on the reserve goalkeeping positions at this stage.

Löw: "Die sechs Punkte haben wir fest eingeplant" - a summary of the press conference from
Including the artificial pitch in Astana, adapting to the time difference by keeping on 'German time', and the Bayern Munich/Borussia Dortmund blocks in the national team.

Also discussed at the press conference were Michael Ballack's farewell, the Champions League and penalty handballs, and more details on these can be found on my March 2013 Archive page.

Full squad:
Goalkeepers:  Manuel Neuer (FC Bayern München), René Adler (Hamburger SV), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover 96)
Defenders:  Philipp Lahm, Jérome Boateng (both FC Bayern München), Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund), Benedikt Höwedes (FC Schalke 04), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal FC), Heiko Westermann (Hamburger Sv)
Midfielders:  Lars Bender, André Schürrle (both Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Julian Draxler (FC Schalke), Mario Götze, Ilkay Gündogan, Marco Reus, Sven Bender (all Borussia Dortmund), Sami Khedira, Mesut Özil (both Real Madrid), Toni Kroos, Thomas Müller, Bastian Schweinsteiger (all FC Bayern München), Lukas Podolski (Arsenal FC)
Forwards:  Mario Gomez (FC Bayern München)

Marco Reus will miss the first qualifier in Astana because of suspension.

Mats Hummels, Miroslav Klose and Holger Badstuber are not available due to injury.

Last updated 10 September 2013
With thanks to everyone on the Group for their contributions, espcially Yowko, Raheleh, Susanne, Sandra, Sonia, Magda and Silke.
Anything else you think I should include on this page? Let me know!