Reigning World Cup winners Germany kick off the qualifying section of their long and arduous title defense in Oslo on Sunday. Joachim Löw's side head into their encounter against Norway fresh from a 2-0 friendly win over Finland in midweek; their opponents, on the other hand, suffered a disappointing defeat to Belarus.
Despite a proud footballing history, Norway are enduring something of a barren spell. They've not made it to a World Cup since 1998, nor a major tournament altogether since 2000. Coach Per-Mathias Høgmo took over in 2013, but has so far failed to change their fortunes. Anything other than a defeat at home to Germany would come as something of a surprise.
Their task isn't made any easier by the absence of a few regulars: defenders Vegard Forren and Omar Elabdelloui, who have a combined total of over 50 caps, join veteran Saint-Étienne striker Alexander Søderlund on the sidelines; midfielder Valon Berisha has recently switched international allegiance to Kosovo.
Germany, in contrast, have almost a full-strength squad available. Antonio Rüdiger is still sidelined through injury, while Jérôme Boateng, Leroy Sané and Marco Reus are still getting up to fitness and have been omitted by Löw. The visitors should still have more than enough to earn victory in this one.
TV: Fox Sports 2 (US - English); FOX Deportes (US - Spanish); Sportsnet One (Canada); Sky Sports 3/HD (UK); TVNorge (Norway); RTL Television (Germany)
Match date/time: Sunday, 2:45 p.m. ET, 8:45 p.m. local
Venue: Ullevaal Stadion, Oslo, Norway