Soccer: Germany should not become complacent, warns Loew
BERLIN (Reuters) - Victory in Kazakhstan and a slip-up by Group C rivals Sweden in Friday's World Cup qualifiers have sent Germany five points clear but coach Joachim Loew has warned against complacency ahead of Tuesday's home game against the Kazakhs.
The Germans, 3-0 winners in Astana, are cruising towards 2014 World Cup qualification and even a suspension to Bastian Schweinsteiger looks unlikely to stop them from notching their fifth win in six group games.
While a meltdown similar to the one late last year that saw them spectacularly squander a 4-0 lead against Sweden to draw 4-4 is not expected in Nuremberg, Loew wants his players to firmly focus on what is at stake.
Germany are top of Group C with 13 points from five games, five ahead of Sweden, who drew 0-0 with Ireland and have a match in hand.
"If you score a victory away then there is the danger that you keep this in your head for some time," Loew told reporters.
"We have to keep reminding the players that we are playing at home and we will only win if we have the right attitude and seriousness."
Loew is aware of the gap in quality between the world's second best team and a side ranked 139 but he also saw the Kazakhs trying to battle back at 2-0 down in the first game and having two clear chances as Germany took their foot off the gas.
He will not have suspended Schweinsteiger to orchestrate their play but the Germans should be faster with the return of Marco Reus, who sat out his own one-game ban on Friday.
Julian Draxler has also been ruled out after picking up a concussion on Friday, prompting late callups for midfielders Patrick Herrmann and Marcell Jansen.
Loew has the option of Sven Bender to replace Schweinsteiger with the Borussia Dortmund midfielder eager to notch his first win if he makes his fourth international appearance having missed the first match with flu.
Ilkay Guendogan is his rival for a starting spot and it is also not yet clear whether striker Mario Gomez, who picked up a muscle injury a day before Friday's encounter, will be fit.
Loew opted not to play with an out-and-out striker in the first game but could revert back to his tested 4-2-3-1 system that would offer more pace and entertainment for the fans.
For Kazakhstan, still looking for their maiden victory in this qualification, it will be an even harder task with the Germans back home on natural grass and with an early evening kick off time as opposed to Friday's midnight game on an artificial pitch.
Germany: Manuel Neuer; Philipp Lahm, Benedikt Hoewedes, Per Mertesacker, Marcel Schmelzer; Ilkay Guendogan, Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil Mario Goetze, Thomas Mueller, Marco Reus.
Referee: Halis Ozkahya (Turkey)
(Editing by Mark Meadows)