Euro 2016 Qualifying Preview: Low wary of Scotland, Spain face Macedonia

Joachim Low believes Germany are viewed as "potential prey" as they prepare to start their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign against Scotland.

Germany will be expected to coast through Group D after taking on all comers to win the World Cup in July.

Scotland, on the other hand, have not qualified for a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France and it would be a major surprise if the world champions fail to start with a win at Signal Iduna Park on Sunday.

Miroslav Klose, Philipp Lahm and Per Mertesacker have all retired from international football since Germany's triumph in Brazil and they were beaten 4-2 by Argentina in a friendly on Wednesday.

Low will also be unable to call upon injured quartet Mats Hummels, Mesut Ozil, Julian Draxler and Sami Khedira this weekend and the Germany coach is wary of the threat posed by Scotland.

"Scotland are the kind of team Germany has always struggled against. With their sheer commitment and their running - they are a team who never give up no matter what the score is," he said.

"They are difficult opponents for us on Sunday. We've gone from being hunter to potential prey.

"If you look at this group and Scotland and Ireland, they come across as similar teams. They have similar playing styles, who excel for their passion and physicality of their football.

"We know this group is anything but easy because all the teams will try as hard as they can to make life difficult for us."

Georgia host the Republic of Ireland, while Poland travel to Gibraltar in the other Group D matches to be played on Sunday.

While Germany prepare to deal with the increased expectation of being world champions, Vicente del Bosque's new-look Spain squad play their first competitive fixture since failing to win a fourth consecutive major tournament.

Spain fans had become accustomed to success after winning back-to-back European Championships and lifting the World Cup in South Africa four years ago, but they were brought back down to earth with a bang as they crashed out in the group stages in Brazil.

Xavi, Xabi Alonso and David Villa have all called time on their illustrious international careers since then, but Del Bosque stayed on as coach and will expect a victory in their Group C clash against Macedonia in Valencia on Monday.

Spain's Group C rivals Ukraine entertain Slovakia and Luxembourg host Belarus in other matches on Monday.

Guus Hiddink will attempt to carry on the good work done by Louis van Gaal when the Netherlands start their qualifying campaign with a tricky clash against the Czech Republic in Prague on Tuesday.

The experienced Hiddink takes over a side that finished third in Brazil and will be expected to top Group A. Iceland host Turkey and Latvia take on Kazakhstan in Astana in the other two matches in that pool.

Roy Hodgson will need a significant improvement from his England side when they face his former employers Switzerland, while San Marino take on Lithuania and Slovenia travel to Estonia in the opening round of Group E fixtures.

Antonio Conte will be eager to mark his first competitive game in charge of Italy with a Group H win against Norway in Oslo on Tuesday, while Croatia will be expected to see off Malta and Bulgaria lock horns with Azerbaijan.

Portugal host Albania on Sunday, when Denmark take on Armenia in Copenhagen in the other Group I fixture. Greece face Romania in Group F, with Finland up against the Faroe Islands.

Austria start their Group G campaign at home to Sweden, with Russia hosting Liechtenstein and Montenegro entertaining Moldova on Monday.

Bosnia-Herzegovina have home advantage when they start their Group B campaign against Cyprus on Tuesday, while Wales travel to Andorra.