BERLIN (AP) - Jerome Boateng and Leroy Sane were recalled by Germany on Friday as it bids to wrap up World Cup qualification against Northern Ireland next week.
World champion Germany, which has eight wins from eight games in Europe Group C, will seal its place at next year’s tournament in Russia if it can secure a point against second-placed Northern Ireland in Belfast on Oct. 5.
Should the Germans slip up for the first time, they have another chance in the final qualifier three days later against Azerbaijan in Kaiserslautern.
Germany coach Joachim Loew said his side’s target remains 10 wins from 10 qualifiers.
“We’ve played a very strong qualifying campaign so far. That’s how it should stay,” he said.
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, defender Jonas Hector and forward Mario Gomez are out due to injury. Midfielders Mesut Ozil (right knee problem) and Sami Khedira (right thigh strain) were also omitted.
“It’s a shame that a few of our leading players couldn’t be there,” Loew said. “The decisive thing for us is that the players are fully fit next year.”
Germany has 24 points in the group, five more than Northern Ireland, which is already assured of second place. Group winners qualify automatically, while the top eight runners-up from nine groups go on to playoffs to decide the other four places allocated to Europe.
“We’re all looking forward to the game in Belfast. There will be a special atmosphere,” Loew said.
“What awaits us from a sporting point of view can be ascertained from the fact that Northern Ireland has not conceded a goal in qualifying except in the first game against us.”
Germany has won 10 of the 16 meetings between the teams, with Northern Ireland winning two. Against Azerbaijan, Germany has five wins from five previous meetings.
Goalkeepers: Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Paris Saint-Germain)
Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Matthias Ginter (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal), Marvin Plattenhardt (Hertha Berlin), Antonio Ruediger (Chelsea), Niklas Suele (Bayern Munich)
Midfielders: Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen), Emre Can (Liverpool), Julian Draxler (Paris Saint-Germain), Leon Goretzka (Schalke), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Sebastian Rudy (Bayern Munich), Leroy Sane (Manchester City), Amin Younes (Ajax)
Forwards: Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich), Lars Stindl (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Sandro Wagner (Hoffenheim), Timo Werner (Leipzig)
More AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/WorldCup
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