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Low wary of Azerbaijan

Boss expecting maximum return from Cologne clash

Last Updated: 06/09/10 3:40pm

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Low: Azerbaijan warning

Low: Azerbaijan warning

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Germany coach Joachim Low is warning his players they must beat Azerbaijan in their Euro 2012 qualifier on Tuesday.

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Low's team started their Group A campaign with a 1-0 victory over Belgium on Friday and are heavy favourites to defeat the minnows in Cologne.

But the 50-year-old has warned his players not to underestimate their opponents, who are coached by German Berti Vogts.

Low says anything less than three points would be a disaster as the team that finished the World Cup in third place look to size control of their pool.

Low told reporters on Monday: "We need the points, we need to win this game.

"When I talk to the players, I get the impression that they want to put in a big performance.

"Of course it would be a massive setback for us if we don't get the three points, but I am confident we will win.

Nothing to lose

"These games are always difficult because basically, these teams have nothing to lose."

Low admitted his job of motivating his squad to take on Azerbaijan was harder than a "World Cup game against Argentina, Maradona and Messi."

But he was adamant they would remain fully focused as he prepares to tinker with the team that secured victory in Brussels last week.

Captain Michael Ballack is still sidelined so Phillip Lahm will deputise, while left-back Marcell Jansen is preparing to make way for Per Mertesacker.

Mesut Ozil, Thomas Mueller and Lukas Podolski are set to lead the line and Low is "sure that Lukas would have an excellent game."

The Cologne striker had a quiet evening against Belgium but has the chance to impress on his home stomping ground.

Low, meanwhile, dismissed suggestions Ballack, 33, was preparing to end his international career.

He added: "I have never had the impression that Michael Ballack wanted to retire from the national team. I do not know why he would do that."

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