Current World Champions Germany started their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign with a commanding 3-0 away victory over Norway in Oslo.
Whilst Thomas Mueller scored twice, the 27-year-old’s Bayern Munich team mate Joshua Kimmich showed great composure to score his first international goal, as Germany delivered an accomplished performance.
In doing so Joachim Low’s side issued a strong statement of intent that they are fully equipped and focused upon reaching the 2018 finals in Russia in as efficient and serene a manner as possible.
Dominant display against Norway
Not only did Germany monopolise possession – 73.7% – against the Norwegians, whilst playing with dynamism and enterprise, but they also created a wealth of excellent goal scoring opportunities, of which Kimmich and Muller were the beneficiaries.
Furthermore a series of fine saves from Norway’s goalkeeper Rune Jarstein, who plays his club football for Hertha Berlin, prevented Germany from winning by a wider margin.
On numerous occasions the 32-year-old former Viking Stavanger player repelled fine efforts from German players, who strolled throw the game with the utmost confidence and efficiency.
Czech’s await Low’s Germany
Therefore Germany laid a solid platform upon which they can build a successful qualifying campaign, with it being their aim to continue constructing that against the Czech Republic, for whom the influential duo of Petr Cech and Tomas Rosicky are no longer available following their international retirements.
In drawing their maiden qualification game 0-0 with Northern Ireland, as Cech’s predecessor Tomas Vaclik remained largely untested, Karel Jarolim’s side were neither able to play with any cohesion nor fluency. As such they must aspire to produce a vastly improved performance in order to compete against a wonderfully balanced and talented German side.
The last time that the two nations faced one another was during qualification for Euro 2008 as the Czech Republic won 3-0 in Munich courtesy of goals from Libor Sionko, Marek Matejovsky and Jaroslav Plasil. Of the players featuring in that game, none are still involved in either the current German or Czech international set-ups.
In contrast to the relative inexperience of Jarolim’s pool of players at international level, whereby only captain Tomas Sivok has made more than 50 appearances, with the Bursaspor defender having been capped 58 times for the Czech Republic, eight members of Low’s 23-man squad have surpassed the 50-cap mark.
Fine mix of experience and youth among German squad
Specifically Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil, Thomas Mueller and Mario Gotze have each represented Germany on more than 50 occasions. Given that whilst Germany’s squad is blessed with a wealth of experience, it also has a strong youthful element with home-based players such as Julian Brandt, Julian Draxler, Joshua Kimmich, Max Meyer, Julian Weigl all having proven themselves as capable of performing well on the international stage.
Great potential exists for Low to introduce more young players into his squad during this qualification campaign. That is particularly the case given the emergence of a fine crop of talented young German defenders, which include Emre Can, Matthias Ginter, Antonio Rudiger, Niklas Sule and Jonathan Tah, whilst Manchester City’s 20-year-old forward Leroy Sane constitutes another excellent attacking option for Low.
Low aspires to lead Germany to another major international tournament
The 56-year-old is now amidst his sixth major international tournament qualification campaign as Germany manager.
In the role Low has an impressive record of having won 77.38% of the competitive games for which he has taken charge of Germany.
As such Low will aim to strengthen that record by guiding Die Mannschaft to victory over the Czech Republic, which would put Germany in complete ascendancy in their efforts to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, despite only having played two games.
Although by no means decisive in terms of determining the overall outcome of qualification Group C – which also contains Azerbaijan, Northern Ireland, Norway and San Marino – Germany’s game against the Czech Republic assumes great importance for both teams.
Whilst the Czech’s will seek to inject some much needed momentum into their campaign following their disappointing draw with Northern Ireland, Germany’s ambition is to secure a second successive victory and build upon the fine start they made by dismantling Norway.
German efficiency characterises Low’s managerial reign
Ever since Low’s appointment in 2006, Germany have professed in running extremely successful qualification campaign, with that being a feat which they are more than capable of achieving again, so as to reach the 2018 World Cups finals in Russia and defend their World title.
Just 72 hours after hosting the Czech Republic in Hamburg, Germany will then travel to Hannover to play Northern Ireland, who Joachim Low’s side beat 1-0 during the group stages of Euro 2016 courtesy of a Mario Gomez goal.
Therefore although a demanding schedule awaits Germany, it is one they are extremely well equipped to manage, particularly under the expert guidance and tutelage of Low, who appears set to lead his country to another major international tournament.
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