Germany coach Loew wants preliminary ties for small nations

BERLIN Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:09pm GMT

Germany's coach Joachim Loew watches his players warm up before their international friendly soccer match against France at the Stade de France stadium in Saint-Denis, near Paris, February 6, 2013. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Germany's coach Joachim Loew watches his players warm up before their international friendly soccer match against France at the Stade de France stadium in Saint-Denis, near Paris, February 6, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Charles Platiau

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany coach Joachim Loew believes smaller nations should play in preliminary qualifying matches for World Cups and European Championships.

"The fixture list is overcrowded so we need some sort of remedy," he told Kicker magazine on Monday.

"We could possibly discuss whether it makes sporting sense to play twice against teams such as Kazakhstan, Andorra, San Marino or the Faroe Islands.

"Personally I would like to see the introduction of a preliminary qualification round," said Loew.

Germany make the long trip to central Asia to face Kazakhstan, 139th in the international rankings, for a World Cup qualifier on Friday before hosting the same opponents four days later.

Their group also includes the 153rd-ranked Faroes.

Second-ranked Germany will be without midfielders Toni Kroos and Sven Bender after both pulled out on Monday.

Bayern Munich's Kroos is sidelined with a knee injury while Borussia Dortmund's Bender has flu.

(Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Tony Jimenez)

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