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Euro 2012 qualifier preview: Azerbaijan v Germany

Germany will bid for their seventh straight win in Euro 2012 Group A qualifying when they visit Azerbaijan on Tuesday.

Victory will lift Germany 10 points clear of second-place Belgium, leaving only Turkey capable of stopping coach Joachim Loew’s side qualifying as pool winners.

The match will have special meaning for Azerbaijan coach Bertie Vogts, the former Germany coach, who was in the German team which won the 1974 World Cup.

Vogts was pelted with toilet roll at a press conference after the 2-1 loss to Kazakhstan on Friday which sent Azerbaijan to the bottom of Group A

Vogts, 64, has been at the Azerbaijan helm since 2008 but has won only two competitive games while in charge.

Vogts told Germany’s SID agency: “I would have (left) long ago left if it were not for my friendship with the federation president.”

“I have experienced many things but nothing like that. I do not have the words to describe this.”

Azerbaijan’s only points came from a 1-0 home win over Turkey in October, ensuring Loew will not be complacent as he heads to Baku after a 2-1 win over Austria on Friday.

“I believe the players can do their job in Azerbaijan. We have to mobilise all our forces while we are at the end of the season,” said Loew, whose side is one of three, alongside Spain and the Netherlands, with perfect records in qualifying.

“Turkey lost there and they (Azerbaijan) don’t usually concede too many goals.”

Loew has called up under-21 players Lewis Holtby of Mainz and Sebastian Rudy of Hoffenheim after injuries to midfielders Sami Khedira and Simon Rolfes.

Striker Lukas Podolski is nursing an ankle injury but is expected to recover in time.

“Yesterday afternoon we decided not to count on Sami Khedira because he did everything possible in the past two to three weeks to play against Austria,” Loew said.

“There is no problem and the injured muscle is fine but we do not want to take a risk and decided it would be better if he did not play.”

Germany will also be without reserve goalkeeper Tim Wiese. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sven Bender, Christian Trasch, Miroslav Klose and Marco Reus have also been sidelined.

Although Germany thumped Azerbaijan 6-1 earlier in the group and have scored 12 goals in three meetings with the former Soviet republic, the runaway group leaders can expect a tough assignment.

Mon 6 June, 2011
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