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Low insists Germany must build on fast start

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Joachim Low has called on Germany to continue their World Cup qualifying momentum when they take on Northern Ireland on Tuesday.

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The world champions have maximum points from their first two games in Group C and are yet to concede a goal having beaten Czech Republic 3-0 in Hamburg on Saturday.

Germany are now preparing to welcome unbeaten Northern Ireland to Hannover, the venue where a match against the Netherlands last year had to be postponed due to a bomb scare, with Low eager to keep his foot on the throttle.

“We played really well against Czech Republic and now we want to build on that,” he said on Monday. “We’ve mentally dealt with the events from last year in Hannover. We are just focused on the game now.

“Northern Ireland will defend very deep and they have a lot of players who are good in the air.

“None of our players have picked up any injuries and all of them will be able to train in the stadium this evening.”

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With the likes of Mario Gomez and Max Kruse out injured, Borussia Dortmund’s Mario Gotze was fielded in a central attacking role against the Czechs and impressed Low with his performance.

The head coach added: “Mario Gotze worked very hard against the Czechs and made a lot of runs. I thought it was a good performance from him.”

Northern Ireland took on Low’s men at Euro 2016 in June, with Gomez scoring the winner as Germany recorded a 1-0 victory.

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Argentina

Pogba jokes around in Manchester United training after ban

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Paul Pogba enjoyed Manchester United training despite confirmation of his three-game suspension.Paul Pogba (more…)

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Germany

Ballack slams lack of respect for Schweinsteiger

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Manchester United outcast Bastian Schweinsteiger deserves far greater respect for his achievements in a lengthy career, according to former Germany midfielder Michael Ballack.

Schweinsteiger has not featured for United since being removed from the first-team squad by manager Jose Mourinho before the start of the season.

The 32-year-old suffered further humiliation this week when he was left out of the club’s official team photo, making it clear that there is little chance of a recall by Mourinho.

And Ballack, who played alongside Schweinsteiger for Bayern Munich and Germany, has hit out at his compatriot’s treatment.

“The very least that Schweinsteiger should receive is the respect he deserves for the great performance he has had,” he wrote via his official Twitter account.

United host Burnley at Old Trafford on Saturday.

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Germany

Germany not bothered by favourites tag – Hummels

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Mats Hummels does not believe that the ‘favourites’ tag has any negative effect on Germany, insisting they are “not really bothered” by it.

The reigning world champions face Northern Ireland in Hannover on Tuesday having won each of their first two World Cup qualifier 3-0 – beating Norway and Czech Republic.

Northern Ireland produced a sterner test when the two sides faced each other at Euro 2016, but Germany still ran out 1-0 winners on their way to losing to France in the semi-finals.

And the Bayern Munich defender says they will be “highly motivated once again”.

“We have been the favourites in nearly every game we have played for a few years now,” he told reporters. “We are not really bothered by the tag.

“We are highly motivated and will give everything we’ve got. Our recent performances are a reaction to the European Championships and the earlier European qualifiers.

“We have played extremely well since the summer’s tournament.

“We are one of the best teams in the world, but I personally don’t think there is a single best team.”

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