Germany and Austria meet in a very one-sided rivalry match on Friday, though the gap between the two countries isn't what it used to be. An impressive influx of young talent has Austria seriously competing for a World Cup berth. If they qualify, it will be their first trip to the tournament since 1998.
Injuries have robbed the Germans of some of their best players, though their player pool is deep enough to make up for it. Lars Bender, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Götze, Lukas Podolski and Ílkay Gündogan all miss out, along with Holger Badstuber, who has been out for a year. Austria is not missing any of their stars.
The last time these two teams met, Austria gave the Germans all they could handle but ultimately came up short of points. Zlatko Junuzović scored in the 57th minute to cut into the Germans' two-goal lead and Austria kept the pressure on for the rest of the match, but they never found an equalizer.
Even if Austria lose as expected on Friday, they'll still be very much in control of their own playoff destiny. They host Ireland on Tuesday, September 10 and go away to Sweden in October before taking on the Faroe Islands -- and therefore likely getting another three free points -- on the final day of qualifying. If Germany win on Friday, they will be in position to clinch a World Cup berth on the following Tuesday.
Match date/time: Friday, 8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET
Venue: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
TV: Univision Deportes (U.S.), BT Sport 2 (U.K.), ZDF (Germany), ATV (Austria)
Online: ESPN3 (U.S.)