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Germany Coach Joachim Löw is focused on defense ahead of the World Cup qualifiers

As far as World Cup qualification campaigns go, things could hardly be rosier for Germany. But beneath the strength of his team’s position in the standings lurks a headache or two for head coach Joachim Löw.

Atop Group C of UEFA qualifying and with a five-point lead ahead of second-placed Austria, Germany should not need all the remaining four matches to stitch up their place in Brazil in 2014.

They take on old rivals Austria on Friday, before travelling to the Faroe Island on Tuesday.

Austria, however, will take some confidence in Germany's recent results and performances ahead of Friday's qualifier in Munich: Die Mannschaft leaked nine goals in their three summer friendlies, and come into the match far from full strength.

Löw does have depth, however, and will consider that enough to adequately replace Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Götze and Lukas Podolski.

Plugging the holes at the back is likely to be his priority.

Mats Hummels and Per Mertesacker began in the heart of defense for Germany last time out, in August's 3-3 friendly draw with Paraguay in Kaiserslautern. Paraguay are floundering at the bottom of CONMEBOL's World Cup standings, but breached Germany's defenses with worrying ease.

Mertesacker was hauled off at the break after a statuesque performance - and not in the positive sense of the word. Pace has never been his strength, but the towering Arsenal defender was made to look so lethargic by Paraguay's attack that pigeons were eyeing a resting place.

Fellow defenders Hummels and Marcel Schmelzer hardly had their best turnouts for their nation, while Sami Khedira spent most of the night seeming to float around aimlessly like a boat with no rudder.

Jerome Boateng, as a consequence, might get the chance to partner Hummels from the start against Austria. The only other change could be enforced, with Ilkay Gündogan still out from the back injury suffered against Paraguay.

Julian Draxler, one of the few shining lights for Schalke this season, could be favorite to add the energy that was lost with Gündogan's removal against Paraguay.

There should be no mystery up front, where Miroslav Klose is likely to lead the line. Now 35, the Lazio forward is just one goal from claiming Gerd Müller's all-time scoring record for Germany. His ineffective display against Paraguay has only added fuel to the doubts over his future with the side, but Mario Gomez continues to wait for his chance and there is no place for in-form youngster Nikolai Müller.

Austria the key performance for Germany

The Faroe Islands are unlikely to pose Germany much of a threat on Tuesday, meaning the meeting with Austria is likely to be where the pass mark lies for Löw's men.

Whether their defensive dramas were down to personnel or concentration, Khedira hinted at where the focus had been for Germany in the build-up: "It's all very well scoring three or four goals but if we want to think about longer term aims we have to see that we reduce the goals conceded as soon as possible," he said.

"We want to try to stop this against Austria. It's not only about winning but if possible to win without conceding a goal."

A better job of protecting the back four will be the start for Khedira, although at least most of Austria's attacking threats hardly loom as mysterious prospects for Löw.

Many either play in the Bundesliga now or did so in the past; like Stuttgart's Martin Harnik, former Mainz schemer Andreas Ivanschitz and Austrian footballer of the year, David Alaba, who will be handed a far freer role than the one he plays at Bayern Munich.

Löw has his own upbeat attacking fulcrum to rely upon. Mesut Özil sealed a surprise 50 million euro ($63m) move to Arsenal from Real Madrid shortly before the transfer deadline shut on Monday, and Löw described the 24-year-old as "happy and satisfied" in camp this week.

While two Germany victories in qualifying will be the minimum, an improvement in recent performances - particularly at the back - will be enough to get Löw feeling the same way.

Follow our coverage of the matches on twitter @dw_sports Friday and Tuesday from 18:45UTC.