Sunday 17 December 2017

German coach Joachim Low ready for rough and ready tie with Faroe Islands

Germany coach Joachim Low believes the hostile conditions of the north Atlantic Ocean will give a "rough and tough" Faroe Islands side a helping hand in Tuesday night's vital World Cup qualifying meeting.

The Nationalmannschaft are just one win away from booking their place at next summer's Brazil finals, providing Sweden fail to beat Kazakhstan in Astana, and the odds are stacked firmly in Germany's favour given their hosts' dismal record this campaign.


The Faroe Islands have conceded 22 goals in losing all seven qualifying games to date but, while the points have tumbled away from Lars Olsen's men on excursions to mainland Europe, they have certainly been tougher to beat in Torshavn.


Second-placed Sweden were given an early scare in October when Zlatan Ibrahimovic was needed to score late on and force a narrow 2-1 win on the archipelago.


Low told "My first impression is that there is a lot of nature here. The island seems like a rough place and I think we are going to have to deal with rough and tough players.


"For such a small country they can defend really well, and are well organised. We expect this to be a completely serious game.


"The Faroe Islands have made life difficult for a lot of teams at home and it's important that we understand what the conditions are like here.


"But the only thing that really interests me is that we take the three points."


The player focus will be on striker Miroslav Klose, who has the chance to make history after matching Gerd Muller's national goalscoring record of 68 with his opener in Friday's 3-0 win over Austria.


Low has guaranteed the 27-year-old Lazio man a starting berth at Torsvollur but there was bad news for Borussia Dortmund winger Marco Reus, who stayed in Germany with a gastrointestinal infection.


"There's going to be a minimum of one change because Reus is definitely out," Low added.


"I might make up to three changes but Klose will start for sure.


"There's Julian Draxler, Andre Schurrle and Sidney Sam (to replace Reus). Sam plays more on the right side so it's probably between Schurrle and Draxler - I'll decide after training."


The mood in the Sweden camp is a serious one with Ibrahimovic adding his voices to those demanding focus on the Kazakhstan match rather than speculating about likely play-off opponents.


FC Krasnodar defender Andreas Granqvist is set for a recall after missing Friday's 2-1 win over the Republic of Ireland through suspension.


Should Sweden slip up in Astana, however, two nations will be vying to snatch second place from Erik Hamren's side.


Austria and Ireland are locked on 11 points and go head-to-head in Vienna with a view to closing the three-point gap on Sweden with only three games remaining.


Aston Villa striker Andreas Weimann is struggling with a muscular complaint but should partner Stoke's Marko Arnautovic for Austria, while Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland should miss injured duo Glenn Whelan and Simon Cox.

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