Ger­many tar­get ‘Pe ect 12’ on road to Rus­sia

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

GER­MANY are tar­get­ing an­other win not only in to­day’s World Cup qual­i­fier against North­ern Ire­land, but are gun­ning for a per­fect 12 points on the road to Rus­sia.

Vic­to­ries away to Nor­way and at home to the Czech Repub­lic by the same 3-0 score­lines leave Ger­many top of Group C, and the world cham­pi­ons are in no mood to drop points against Michael O’Neill’s North­ern Ire­land in Hanover.

A win over the Ir­ish then a fourth­straight vic­tory over tour­na­ment min­nows San Marino on Novem­ber 11 would yield a max­i­mum 12 points from four matches, leav­ing Ger­many in pole po­si­tion to qual­ify for 2018 World Cup.

“We want to do it all again and make sure we have 12 points in Novem­ber. Then we would be in a very com­fort­able sit­u­a­tion in the ta­ble,” said de­fender Mats Hum­mels.

A two-goal dif­fer­ence puts Ger­many ahead of tour­na­ment sur­prise Azer­bai­jan, who have also won their open­ing two games.

North­ern Ire­land are in third after beat­ing San Marino 4-0 in Belfast on Oc­to­ber 8 fol­low­ing a goal­less draw against the Czech Repub­lic last month.

After Ger­many beat the Ir­ish 1-0 in a Euro 2016 group match in June, coach Joachim Loew ex­pects an­other hard-fought match.

“The team is pas­sion­ate. The play­ers have a big heart,” said Loew.

“A large part of their Euro 2016 squad will also be in Hanover, so we know what to ex­pect.”

Manch­ester City mid­fielder Ilkay Gun­do­gan is ex­pected to start, hav­ing made his first ap­pear­ance in the fa­mous white shirt for nearly a year against the Czechs fol­low­ing an in­jury ab­sence.

De­fend­ers Jerome Boateng and Jonas Hec­tor, plus winger Ju­lian Draxler are fit de­spite some scrapes in the 3-0 win over the Czech Repub­lic on Oc­to­ber 8.

Thomas Mueller has now scored four goals in his last two in­ter­na­tion­als after a brace against the Czech.

Mean­while, 25-year-old North­ern Ire­land’s Euro 2016 cult sen­sa­tion Will Grigg will be left watch­ing again as his part­ner re­cently gave birth.

‘We want to ... make sure we have 12 points in Novem­ber. Then we would be in a very com­fort­able sit­u­a­tion.’

Mats Hum­mels Ger­man foot­ball player

He has made 11 ap­pear­ances and scored six goals for Wi­gan this sea­son, but has yet to make an ap­pear­ance in North­ern Ire­land’s World Cup qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign.

In Grigg’s ab­sence, Laf­ferty of Nor­wich City, Conor Wash­ing­ton of Queens Park Rangers and Leeds United’s Stu­art Dal­las will be vy­ing to start up front against Ger­many.

North­ern Ire­land have not con­ceded a goal in five of their last seven qual­i­fiers, but will face their tough­est test yet against the world cham­pi­ons. –

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