Germany to burn midnight oil in Kazakhstan

BERLIN Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:30pm GMT

Germany's national soccer team player Mario Goetze attends a training session ahead of their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match against Kazakhstan in Frankfurt March 19, 2013. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

Germany's national soccer team player Mario Goetze attends a training session ahead of their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match against Kazakhstan in Frankfurt March 19, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Lisi Niesner

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's players will be going to bed at dawn and training just before midnight as they prepare for their soccer World Cup qualifying game in Kazakhstan on Friday, the team said on Wednesday.

With a five-hour time difference between Germany and Kazakhstan, the team have been advised not to change their watches to local time once they arrive but instead stick with German time so as not to interrupt their rhythm on such a short trip.

"We have a five-hour time difference and that normally needs about five days to adapt," said team doctor Tim Meyer. "We do not have that time and we have to go straight back to German time.

"Our clocks will be on German time, and the schedule with things like eating and sleeping also on German time. We have a kick-off which is good for German time but it is midnight in Kazakhstan.

"We will not check everyone's watches but we advise them to do it and expect them to do it. You can do it for a day or two." Meyer told reporters.

The plan means the Germans will have a late training session in Astana (2300 local) on Thursday. "The schedule then will be like we have after an afternoon training at 1800 in Germany," team spokesman Jens Grittner told reporters. "Then sleep at 0400 which is 2300 in Germany."

Meyer, who said the artificial pitch should be no real problem for the players, also eased concerns over an ankle injury in training for Sami Khedira on Tuesday, saying it was less serious than expected, with the midfielder fit to train again.

Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski also overcame minor injuries and are back in training

"It will not be an easy game. The Kazakhs will go way back like a handball team and it is really hard to get through it," Schweinsteiger told reporters.

Germany top Group C with 10 points from four games with Sweden in second place on seven from three games.

"We need solutions and maybe try to get an early goal. Otherwise it might not be as easy as some have predicted," Schweinsteiger said.

He dismissed talk of pressure on him and the team to win their first major title since 1996.

"It is not that I will die sooner if I don't win a title. What I want is to qualify for Brazil and then play our best football. But it is not always the team that plays the most beautiful football, it is the one that scores a goal more."

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Clare Fallon)

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