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German soccer coach Loew nears record

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Joachim Loew will take sole possession of second spot on the all-time matches list of Germany coaches in the latest World Cup qualifiers and intends to do so with win over the Czech Republic and Northern Ireland.

"We are well prepared. We have a clear goal of getting six points from the two games," Loew told a news conference in Hamburg on Friday ahead of Saturday's showdown with the Czechs.

Loew has coached Germany on 139 occasions, a mark he shares with Helmut Schoen. Only the 1954 World Cup winning coach Sepp Herberger, on 167, has led the nation more often.

Should Germany win both matches, Loew will move level with Herberger on a record 94 victories.

"Jogi Loew is a modern coach," said midfielder Sami Khedira. "He finds the perfect balance between hard work and recovery."

Loew, 56, has led Germany since 2006 and guided the team to World Cup glory in 2014. His current contract runs to the 2018 finals in Russia.

Germany top Group C qualifying after a convincing 3-0 win over Norway in their opening match but as only the group winners are guaranteed an automatic spot in the finals, there is no room for complacency.

"Czech Republic defend well and are good on the counter," Loew warned. He also revealed that Khedira and Toni Kroos would start in midfield against the Czechs, meaning Ilkay Guendogan will return for Germany via the substitutes' bench.

"Guendogan can have a positive influence on a game at any moment," said Loew. "I'm happy to have him back."

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