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Germany wary of rivals Austria as World Cup qualifier approaches

Germany head coach Joachim Löw has warned of the threat Austria pose in their match on Friday. The two nations square off in a qualifier in Munich that could go some way to determining the World Cup fate of the visitors.

The fixture rarely requires further motivation, but Austria have a surplus of reasons for an underdog victory as UEFA qualifying for Brazil in 2014 reaches a crucial stage.

Austria are second in Group C, although just goal difference separates them from Sweden and Ireland in third and fourth respectively.

Germany, sitting top and five points ahead, have their qualification campaign in a strong position. With four games yet to play, Löw's men look on track to cruise to a place in Brazil.

"Everyone knows that our neighbors are always enormously motivated for a match against Germany," said Löw, who knows Austrian football well from his time on the coaching staff of clubs Tirol Innsbruck and Austria Vienna.

"Austria are distinguished by their good pressing and the way they can switch play quickly. The influence of my esteemed colleague [Austria coach] Marcel Koller is clearly recognizable."

"They will give everything to maintain their chances of qualifying."

Germany go into the match missing injured quintet Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Götze, Ilkaz Gündogan, Lukas Podolski and Marcell Jansen. A poor recent defensive record - conceding nine goals in their three summer friendlies - could also offer Austria hope.

Austria have not beaten Germany since 1986 and they suffered a 2-1 loss in Vienna in the first Group C meeting between the pair in September 2012. But Austria are bidding for a first World Cup appearance since 1998, and Moller urged his men - nine of whom play their football in Germany - to forget history.

"We shouldn't make the mistake of saying that only the games against Sweden, Ireland, Kazakhstan and the Faroes are important," Moller said.

"If we want to finish second we mustn't throw away a game against Germany from the start. Of course, Austria have not won in Germany since 1931 and, of course, it will be a difficult undertaking, but in a game anything is possible.

"We have a good, self-confident team. We aren't bound to lose."

The match will be Germany captain Philipp Lahm's 100th appearance for his country, while striker Miroslav Klose is just one goal from claiming Gerd Müller's long-held goalscoring record of 68 goals.

ph/ccp (Reuters, AFP, dpa)