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World Cup qualifying preview: Germany v Sweden

Germany captain Philipp Lahm has warned of the threat posed by Zlatan Ibrahimovic ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Sweden.

Lahm, who will return to the side following suspension, is hopeful his team can preserve their perfect record in World Cup qualifying when they take on the Swedes in Berlin on Tuesday.

But the German captain has admitted that Ibrahimovic’s fantastic form with club side Paris St Germain this season should be cause for concern in what is shaping up to be his side’s toughest match yet.

“Sweden are dangerous opponents, maybe the strongest team (in this group),” he said.

“They are well organised in defence, and in Ibrahimovic they have a complete striker who can be very dangerous.”

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was also wary of the threat posed by Ibrahimovic but warned there is more to Sweden than just their star striker.

“Zlatan is a key component of Sweden’s attack, but I am fully aware of the threat the entire offensive unit will pose,” he said.

Joachim Loew’s side go into the game with only one real injury concern in the form of midfielder Sami Khedira who is suffering from a calf strain.

Loew was forced to take the Real Madrid man off at half-time in their match against Ireland and while he has confirmed the injury is not as bad as first feared, he conceded it is unlikely the 25-year-old will line-up against the Swedes.

“Khedira still has a problem, but there is nothing broken. We have to wait two or three days (before we know more),” Loew said.

In better injury news, midfielder Mario Goetze is expected to be fit for the match after missing Germany’s 6-1 drubbing of Ireland on Friday with muscle soreness.

“He tweaked a muscle, but he should be fit for Tuesday,” Loew said.

Germany are yet to lose in their qualification campaign, with wins over the Faroe Islands, Austria and the Republic of Ireland seeing them a game clear on top of Group C with nine points.

Sweden are second on six points with a game in hand, however their slender 2-1 victory over minnows the Faroe Islands will be cause for concern for Erik Hamren’s men as they prepare to face the world’s second ranked side.

A win for the Swedes would open the group right up whilst a German victory would go a long way to consolidating their place on top of Group C and an automatic qualification place into Brazil 2014.

Mon 15 October, 2012
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