Germans 'have score to settle' with Sweden
AFP/The Local · 14 Oct 2013, 11:25
Published: 14 Oct 2013 11:25 GMT+02:00
The final qualifier is meaningless for both sides with Germany already confirmed as Group C winners while second-placed Sweden face a two-legged play-off in November in order to claim their Brazil berth.
Erik Hamren's Sweden are chasing a confidence-boosting win while the Germans have a score to settle, after throwing away a four-goal lead as last October's World Cup qualifier in Berlin ended 4-4.
Swedish superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is suspended this time, sparked a stunning second-half fight-back from 4-0 down in the German capital before the Swedes' scored a 93rd-minute equalizer.
The draw proved to be the only points dropped so far in Germany's qualifying games for Brazil and Joachim Löw's team are chasing their ninth win from 10 matches on Tuesday.
Their 3-0 win over Republic of Ireland in Cologne last Friday secured Germany's World Cup place, while Sweden beat Austria 2-1 to confirm second place.
"We're happy to qualify but we definitely have a score to settle against Sweden," said German coach Löw, whose side lead the series with 14 wins from 35 games compared to the Swedes' 12 victories, with nine draws.
"I might switch things up but we want to win in Sweden."
Chelsea winger Andre Schürrle, who scored Germany's second goal against Ireland, said the visitors are highly motivated.
"There is still a score to settle, we want to win the game, even if the ticket for Brazil has already been decided," said the 22-year-old.
Having last lost neither a World Cup or a European Championships qualifier in October 2007, Germany are looking to extend their unbeaten run to 32 qualification matches.
If Sweden are to end that run, they will have to do so without Ibrahimovic after the 32-year-old picked up a yellow card in Friday's win over Austria in Solna.
The Paris St Germain star produced the crucial winner with the match edging
towards a 1-1 draw when he brilliantly brought down a long ball and slotted
home a left-footed shot in 86th minute.
"It's a little bit unlucky for us as we need him especially as we may need to take some points off Germany so we can get another team in the play-off," striker Johan Elmander told Eurosport.
Team-mate Anders Svensson said Sweden would cope without their talisman but that his influence will be missed.
"We've been successful without him before but obviously he's a player with so much quality that he can win games on his own. We will miss him against Germany but hopefully we can win anyway."
Sweden have already qualified for the play-offs but victory against Germany would improve their chances to secure one of the best runner-up spots and potentially give them an easier opponent in the play-offs.
The Swedes have won their last five games but will come up against a German side undefeated in World Cup qualifiers since their 1-5 thrashing by England back in 2001 who were then managed by Sven-Göran Eriksson.