Mounting injuries won't stop Germany's path to World Cup

Tue Oct 8, 2013 4:57pm EDT
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By Karolos Grohmann

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany may be missing more than half a dozen key players through injuries, including their top strikers, but anything other than automatic World Cup qualification with a win over Ireland on Friday will be a disappointment, officials said.

Germany coach Joachim Loew will be without his starting strikers Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose as well as defender Marcel Schmelzer, twins Sven and Lars Bender, Lukas Podolski and offensive midfielder Marco Reus among others.

"We always hope that in the autumn to have all players fully fit but there are times when players are stretched every three days with matches," team manager Oliver Bierhoff told a news conference in Duesseldorf.

"Those who have been playing continuously are fully fit but the bad thing is that some (footballers) are missing because demands on players have been high during the past weeks."

Germany need two points from their last two games against Ireland in Cologne and away to Sweden four days later to top Group C and advance to next year's World Cup finals in Brazil.

"Anything other than automatic qualification against Ireland would be disappointing," said Bierhoff. "Despite the injuries, we have to be ambitious enough to dominate the game and win it."

Germany are on 22 points from eight games with Sweden in second place, five points off the pace.

Bierhoff also brushed off criticism that a lack of attackers could be a problem, with Max Kruse the only designated forward in Loew's squad.   Continued...

Germany's coach Joachim Loew gestures during their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match against Austria in Munich September 6, 2013. REUTERS/Michael Dalder