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Football: Loew eyes changes for Sweden clash

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Germany coach Joachim Loew has said he may be forced into changes for Tuesday's final 2014 World Cup qualifier against Sweden with both Toni Kroos and Per Mertesacker suffering with colds.

"They are both suffering a bit, so we will have to see how the final training session goes," said Loew, whose side are chasing their ninth win from 10 qualification matches.

Loew is already without Real Madrid defensive midfielder Sami Khedira, who is suspended, for the game in Sweden and Bayern Munich's Kroos had been an option to partner Bastian Schweinsteiger on his 100th appearance for Germany.

If Arsenal centre-back Mertesacker is forced to sit the Sweden match out, Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels is set for a recall after missing the last three internationals due to a loss of form.

Bayern Munich midfielder Mario Goetze is set to make a cameo appearance as he returns from a hamstring injury.

"It's clear that he is not strong enough yet to play the full 90 minutes," commented Loew.

With Germany having qualified for the World Cup as Group C winners, Sweden will finish second and face a play-off for their Brazil berth, but a lot of pride is still at stake in Stockholm.

Loew is still fuming after his side threw away a 4-0 lead in Berlin on their previous meeting last October as Sweden produced a stirring second-half fight-back to equalise in the 93rd minute.

"The result of last October still rankles me," said Loew.

"That's why we travel with a bit of anger in the belly to Sweden."

Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who sparked the fight-back, is suspended for Tuesday's game and also has a knee injury, but Germany's stars have vowed to make sure there is no repeat.

"That was just embarrassing, something like that must not be allowed to happen again," said Bayern's Kroos.

Schweinsteiger also insisted there must be no repeat.

"A year ago, we behaved stupidly, that won't happen again, but we have to be on our guard, of course," said the 29-year-old.

While Loew looks set to stick with captain Philipp Lahm at right-back, Hamburg's Marcell Jansen on the left and Munich's Jerome Boateng at centre-back, there could well be changes up front.

Untested Borussia Moenchengladbach striker Max Kruse is set to start as the lone forward while Schalke teenager Julian Draxler could come onto the left wing for Chelsea's Andre Schuerrle.

Meanwhile, Loew has said for the first time that he expects to extend his contract with the German Football League (DFB) until 2016.

Having taken charge after the 2006 World Cup, Loew's current deal expires after the World Cup in Brazil, but he has said both sides want to sign a new contract.

However, he admitted that would depend on how Germany performed in the World Cup where they have reached the semi-finals on the past two occasions but haven't won the trophy since 1990.

"Both sides are interested in extending the contract for two years with a view to going up until 2016," said Loew.

"If we go out in the first round of the World Cup without a point, then you have to think about making a change," he admitted.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131014/football-loew-eyes-changes-sweden-clash