Germany aim to entertain against Kazakhstan
Germany coach Joachim Low can draw on a fully-fit squad on Saturday as the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ semi-finalists seek to maintain an unbeaten record against minnows Kazakhstan in a UEFA EURO 2012 home qualifier.
With Bayern Munich stars Mario Gomez, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Miroslav Klose as well as Real Madrid playmaker Mesut Ozil at Germany's disposal, the aim is not only to win, but to please the fans, said Low's assistant Oliver Bierhoff.
"We are the clear favourites and we want all three points. But we also want the fans in the stadium to get their money's worth. We've got a strong side here and want to impress the crowd with a good performance," he said. "Of course the opposition are not exactly household names, so we've been concentrating on our own game in training and not on Kazakhstan," he added.
Germany are overwhelming favourites to beat lowly Kazakhstan, ranked 132 in the world. They have carried all before them so far in Group A, winning four out of four, scoring 13 goals and conceding only one. They head into the game at the Fritz-Walter Stadium, home to Bundesliga club Kaiserslautern, in tremendous form, not having lost since the FIFA World Cup semi-final to Spain in July.
In contrast, Kazakhstan have lost all four of their qualifying games for EURO 2012, scoring none and letting in ten. In the match in Astana in October, Germany won 3-0 courtesy of second-half goals from Klose, Gomez and Lukas Podolski. "Of course, I only know a few players from Kazakhstan," admitted 26-year-old Schweinsteiger ahead of the match.
"But the next three qualifying matches are very important for us. We can really get ahead of Austria, Turkey and Belgium," he added, referring to Germany's main rivals in Group A.
Austria are five points behind Low's side but with a game in hand. They play away against Turkey, who are currently third in the group. Klose added: "We've got a lot of quality. If we play the football we are capable of, we'll win. If we get an early goal, then we can look at a big win."
The striker looks set to get the nod over club rival Mario Gomez, who has edged him out at club level. "It's a completely normal competitive situation. Mario is a world-class player. He fits well into our club team at the moment and me in the national team."
Klose said he was hoping to add to his tally of 59 goals for his country as he chases Gerd Mueller's all-time German goal-scoring record of 68. "It is my goal to break this record, but I would never compare myself to Gerd Mueller," said Klose. "He was a one-off."