2012 European Championship qualifiers Group A leaders Germany tonight face Kazakhstan on the artificial pitch at the Astana Arena in the Kazakh capital, but more then their opponent the German team will be fighting against the long flight and time shift. The flight from Germany took them five hours and the time difference between Kazakhstan and Germany happens to be four hours.
Time is seen has the biggest problem for the contingent, so the German team doctor Dr. Tim Meyer has developed a system in which the players should feel minimal effects of the time different, meaning jet lag. The German players have been told to keep their watches on German time, besides training, eating and sleeping also as per the time in their home country. With the match tonight kicking off at 23.00 h local time (19.00 CET) it means that the body rhythm doesn't have to change. And the plan is only working as the overall trip is taking a little over 48 hours. If it had been of longer duration, then the body would have to adjust to the local time.
On the field coach Joachim Loew has come to Astana with a squad of only 18 players amongst them three goalkeepers. Jerome Boateng had to drop out at the last moment due to an upset stomach, while leaves Loew with only 15 field players. Star Mesut Özil is not 100% fit, but trained last night in Astana and the coach will decide if he will field him before the match. If Özil cannot start then Marko Marin could be the first alternative, but otherwise the team which beat Turkey on Friday night is set to start again.
For Kazakhstan it is one of the biggest matches since joining UEFA from the AFC in 2002. And not for the country but also for their German coach Bernd Storck, a former Borussia Dortmund player, it is a big match. But The Kazakhs are realistic against the mighty Germans, a reasonable loss would be acceptable.