Germany coach Joachim Low is to crack the whip as he bids to get his men shipshape for the resumption of his team's 2010 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying campaign. The Germans are currently looking strong in European qualifying Group Four with ten points from their opening four fixtures to open up a four-point gap over Russia and Wales.
But Low indicated on Tuesday that he would be putting his squad, who face Norway in a friendly international on Wednesday, through their paces to glean up-to-date data on their sprint and endurance capacity. Low wants to have the information available ahead of upcoming qualifiers against Liechtenstein in Leipzig on 28 March and Wales on 1 April in Cardiff.
In the meantime, he explained he had picked Norway as Wednesday's opponents seeing the Scandinavians as a tough and physical side, despite the fact that their recent form has been patchy. "We chose to meet Norway for this friendly as their defensive organisation can be compared with that of our next two adversaries, Wales and Liechtenstein," Low said. "We expect to be confronted with defensive-minded teams, such as Norway, on those occasions," said Low, whose side has won 13 and drawn five of its last 19 outings and is on a run of seven straight victories.
Forecasting a tough match, Low said he wanted to see "more passion" than in the recent friendly loss to England in Berlin. With the out-of-sorts Lukas Podolski dropped Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez will form a strike tandem while youngster Rene Adler will be between the sticks.
"Our target this year is to win our ticket to the World Cup as quickly as possible," said Low, who took over the reins from Jurgen Klinsmann after Germany 2006. Low added he would be looking out for a potential base for the finals, as well as taking the chance to run the rule over rival top sides, when he and his assistants visit South Africa for the FIFA Confederations Cup.