2018 FIFA World Qualifier Germany target 'Perfect 12' on road to Russia

The world champions are in no mood to drop points against Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland in Hanover.

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Germany midfielder Toni Kroos (L) is congratulated by teammates after making it 2-0 during the 2018 World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic in Hamburg, northern Germany, on October 8, 2016 play

Germany midfielder Toni Kroos (L) is congratulated by teammates after making it 2-0 during the 2018 World Cup qualifier against the Czech Republic in Hamburg, northern Germany, on October 8, 2016

(AFP)
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Germany are targeting another win in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland in their bid for a perfect 12 points from their first four games on the road to Russia.

Victories away to Norway last month and at home to the Czech Republic on Saturday by the same 3-0 scorelines leave Germany top of Group C in their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

The world champions are in no mood to drop points against Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland in Hanover.

A win over the Irish, then again at minnows San Marino on November 11, would yield a maximum 12 points from four qualifiers leaving Germany in pole position to qualify for Russia.

"I have told the team I'll only be happy if we get the maximum number of points from our next two games," said Germany head coach Joachim Loew in Monday's press conference.

"We are concentrating on ourselves, that we develop further and make sure we win our games, but we're self-confident enough to say we'll qualify."

Germany top the group on goal difference from surprise-package Azerbaijan, who have also won their opening two games.

Northern Ireland are third after beating San Marino 4-0 in Belfast on Saturday following last month's goalless draw against the Czech Republic in Prague.

After Germany beat the Irish 1-0 in their Euro 2016 group match in June, Loew expects another hard-fought match.

"The team is passionate, the players have a big heart," he said.

"A large part of their Euro 2016 squad will also be in Hanover, so we know what to expect."

Defender Mats Hummels admits Germany's desire for 12 points from their first four qualifiers is motivated by their less-than-perfect qualifying campaign for Euro 2016 when they suffered two away defeats.

"We are very motivated to invest everything in this two-year campaign for the World Cup," said Hummels.

"We are on the right path and we want to show we are one of the best teams in the world."

Spoilt for choice

Hummels and Jerome Boateng knocked numerous diagonal balls forward to great success against the Czechs, but Loew does not expect to deploy the same long-ball tactic against the Irish.

"I don't think Northern Ireland will present us with the same opportunities," said Loew.

"They will sit deeper and not pack the middle as much as the Czechs, and they have very good players in the air. They won't give us so much space."

Loew is spoilt for choice.

Boateng and Jonas Hector, plus winger Julian Draxler, are fit despite picking up knocks against the Czechs.

Thomas Mueller has now scored four goals in his last two internationals.

The World Cup qualifier in Hanover is a chance for die Mannschaft to exorcise a few bad memories.

Last November's friendly against the Netherlands at the HDI Arena in Hanover was called off hours before kick-off over security concerns, just four days after the German team spent the night at the Stade de France due to the terror attacks in Paris on November 13.

"It will be a little bit at the back of the mind, but I don't believe it will lead to any unpleasant feelings," added Hummels.

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