Ozil likely to be fit to face Kazakhs

BERLIN - Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil is likely to recover from a minor knee injury in time for their Euro 2012 qualifier against Kazakhstan on Tuesday, coach Joachim Low said.

The 21-year-old Real Madrid midfielder scored in their 3-0 victory over Turkey on Friday but has picked up a knee knock and was unable to train at the weekend.

Friday's win gave Germany sole possession of top spot in Group A with nine points from three games.

"If everything goes well and according to our plan, Mesut will be able to train on Monday evening and then will be fit to play," Low said.

Should he fail to recover in time, Low said he could shift Toni Kroos, Cacau or Marko Marin into his position, with Marin the most likely choice.

"We have enough quality to replace any player," said Low, who warnedthat Kazakhstan would be no pushovers.

Despite the long flight to Kazakhstan and the four-hour time difference to Germany, Low opted to fly out with his team only one day before the game in Astana on Tuesday.

"We are expecting a very tough match. The Kazakhs are much better than (group rivals) Azerbaijan. We have to be on guard because we will have a lot of work to do," he said.

Low is not expected to make many changes to the side that dominated against Turkey, with defender Heiko Westermann most likely to keep his leftback role ahead of Jerome Boateng, who is recovering from the flu.

Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger is still out injured, though Kroos performed well in his stead against Turkey.

Kazakhstan have yet to collect a point after three consecutive defeats and will be without suspended Aleksander Kislitsyn, who was sent off in their 2-0 defeat to Belgium, and captain Andrei Karpovich.

"This is a great chance for my players to develop," said Kazakhstan's German coach Bernd Stork. "We want to keep the match even for as long as possible but we should not get our hopes up. Germany are too strong for us."

Probable squad:

Kazakhstan: 1-Andrei Sidelnikov; 14-Mikhail Rozhkov, 4-Renat Abdulin, 16-Aleksei Popov, 3-Aleksandr Kirov; 13-Azat Nurgaliyev, 2-Kazbek Geteriyev, 7-Evgeni Averchenko, 15-Genrikh Shmidtgal; 10-Nurbol Zhumaskaliyev, 11-Sergei Khizhnichenko.

Germany: 1-Manuel Neuer; 16-Philipp Lahm, 17-Per Mertesacker, 14-Holger Badstuber, 5-Heiko Westermann; 6-Sami Khedira, 18-Toni Kroos, 8-Mesut Ozil, 10-Lukas Podolski, 13-Thomas Mueller; 11-Miroslav Klose.