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Germany's Gomez and Hoewedes still doubtful for Kazakhstan

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany coach Joachim Loew will wait until a final training session on Monday to see if central defender Benedikt Hoewedes and striker Mario Gomez will be fit for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan.

The coach said the pair was joined by Mesut Ozil for a run on Sunday but did not train with the rest of the team as Germany prepare for their second encounter with the Kazakhs after beating them 3-0 in Astana on Friday.

"I do not see a problem with Mesut for tomorrow but for the other two I will wait until the final training. Only after that will we take a final decision," Loew told reporters.

Hoewedes and Gomez, the only striker left in the squad, are nursing minor muscle problems.

Germany are top of Group C on 13 points from five games, five points ahead of second-placed Sweden who have a game in hand.

Loew confirmed Ilkay Guendogan would be playing in midfield in place of the suspended Bastian Schweinsteiger, despite a late call-up for Borussia Dortmund teammate Sven Bender.

"Ilkay will play tomorrow. He has taken a huge step forward not only for Dortmund but for us as well," Loew said.

"He has won a lot of esteem and plays top international level football."

World number two Germany will be looking for a quick goal against Kazakhstan, ranked 139th in the world, to take any wind out of their sails as they did with two quick goals in Astana.

"I expect us to play with the same passion as we did in the first half in Kazakhstan," Loew said. "That we score an early goal and add to that to put them under pressure."

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by John Mehaffey)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130325/germanys-gomez-and-hoewedes-still-doubtful-kazakhstan