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Germans target Ibrahimovic, Khedira still doubtful

15 Oct 2012 14:17:21

Germans target Ibrahimovic, Khedira still doubtful

Germany coach Joachim Loew has said stopping Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the key for the hosts in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier while German midfielder Sami Khedira remains an injury doubt.

Real Madrid star Khedira is nursing a thigh strain and Loew has said a decision on his fitness will be taken either on Monday night or Tuesday morning ahead of the Group C clash at Berlin's Olympic Stadium.

Should Khedira fail to be fit, Bayern Munich's Toni Kroos is likely to partner Bastian Schweinsteiger in Germany's defensive midfield role.

Having missed Friday's 6-1 drubbing of Ireland in Dublin through suspension, Germany captain Philipp Lahm returns to the side at right-back and he will be marking Sweden's Paris St Germain striker Ibrahimovic.

Sweden had to come from behind to beat minnows Faroe Islands 2-1 on Friday after Ibrahimovic popped up with the late winner and Loew says the key to Germany's plans to pick up a fourth straight qualifier win is to stop the beanpole striker.

"He's a dangerous player, who can decide games on his own and can often find the solution in very difficult situations," said the 52-year-old Loew.

"(Germany goalkeeper) Manuel Neuer didn't have much to do against Ireland, but that is not the yardstick for us and we expect it to be very different.

"Sweden are more dangerous in attack than Ireland, their offensive game is heavily focused on Ibrahimovic.

"He may be totally unpredictable, but he has individual class and can often find solutions to very difficult situations.

"He is a key player, but the Swedes also work very well as a team and it is always hard to score against them.

"It will be important that we disturb Ibrahimovic early when receiving a pass and don't give him much space."

Veteran striker Miroslav Klose, who scored Germany's fourth goal against the Irish, will start against Sweden and with 65 goals to his credit he is just three short of equalling Gerd Mueller's record of the most goals for the Germans.

"Anyone who has scored 65 goals doesn't need to have much said about him," said Loew.

"He plays an important role, he is a player who always speaks his mind internally.

"The younger players look up to him, because his life revolves around football."


AFP

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