Germany will be looking to continue its unbeaten run at 2014 World Cup qualifiers when the team takes on Kazakhstan at home in its latest match this week.
The European heavyweights currently sit on top of Group C with 10 points—undefeated throughout—and have a great chance to add to that when they take on Kazakhstan, which has yet to win in the qualification process so far and has just one point through its opening four games.
That result was a 0-0 draw at home to Austria, which doesn't inspire a great deal of confidence in the home team coming into this one. Especially not when their opponents are one of the top teams in world football and a serious contender for the 2014 World Cup title in Brazil next year.
Yet, as we all know in football, upsets can happen incredibly easily, and both teams will definitely be watching out for any chance of that taking place.
Will Germany go through in style, as expected, or will it be the home side who stun the visitors and earn their first win of the tournament?
Read on for a full preview of this World Cup qualifier.
Date: Friday, March 22
Start time: 2 p.m. ET
Venue: Astana Arena, Astana, Kazakhstan
As per Live Soccer TV, coverage of this match is available for viewing in the United States via Gol TV USA, with LiveSport.TV also showing international coverage.
World Cup Qualifying Form so Far
As mentioned, Germany is currently undefeated in its four World Cup qualifiers to date, though it did come close to losing that streak in its last match.
Die Mannschaft had a 4-4 draw with Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Sweden, which highlighted both their attacking strengths as well as their defensive weaknesses—something they'll no doubt be looking to rectify in this one. Yet against a struggling Kazakhstan side, they should be okay.
Kazakhstan has scored just one goal in its four qualifiers so far and, as mentioned, has only picked up one point in the competition. Changing that against the top team in the group—which is one of the best attacking teams in international football—seems like an incredibly tough ask.
It's hard to see this one being anything other than a German victory.
World Cup Qualifying Standings: Group C
(Image captured via FoxSoccer.com)
Key Storyline to Watch: Can Artificial Turf Help the Hosts?
This qualifier will be played on artificial turf (according to Eurosport), which might not seem like a big difference from playing on grass. But already a long way from home, and now on an unfamiliar surface, Germany could well face some problems beating its opponent on the turf.
That's what Kazakhstan will be hoping for, anyway.
Yet according to defender Per Metresacker, the artificial turf should still see Germany dominate but utilizing speed. Per Eurosport:
"In past games the pitch was always different from what we had trained on and it is good to get used to the artificial pitch in advance," said central defender Per Mertesacker. "We won the last game in Kazakhstan but it was still difficult, also because of the pitch. Technically we have to be spot on."
The 20-year-old [Mario] Goetze [also] said a well-watered artificial pitch would see Germany deploying their speed as their main weapon. "If there are no bumps, if it is a bit wet before the game then we can play a quick tempo. We will try to play over the wings, use our pace, this will be our plan," he said.
With Germany's dominance and attacking brilliance, it's hard to see anything other than a strong win for the World Cup contenders in this qualifying match.
They are a class above their opponents in this one, and even with players being rested, will surely triumph away from home on the artificial turf.
The longer grass could hold the ball up a little more—making it easier to defend—so we might not see as many goals as some are predicting. Yet, having said that, we still should see plenty of attacking action from the visitors as they extend their lead on top of Group C with a big win here.
Final score: Kazakhstan 0, Germany 3
What do you think will happen in this 2014 World Cup qualifier?
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