Updated: Thursday, 26 June 2014 03:41 | By Agence France-Presse

Klinsmann friendship won't dull competitiveness - Loew

Germany coach Joachim Loew says his friendship with US counterpart Jurgen Klinsmann will not affect his desire to win when the two sides clash at the World Cup on Thursday.

Klinsmann friendship won't dull competitiveness - Loew

Germany's coach Joachim Loew oversees a training session in the Pernambuco Arena in Recife on June 25, 2014 on the eve of the Group G football match between USA and Germany in the 2014 FIFA World Cup - by Patrik Stollarz

Top spot in Group G is up for grabs to the victors while the loser could face an anxious wait to see if they even qualify for the second round.

It is an unusual situation to be in when the coach in the opposite dugout is a close personal friend but for Loew it is no problem.

"I think the relationship between Jurgen and me is very interesting for the press," said Loew, who was Klinsmann's assistant at the Germany helm from 2004 to 2006 before taking over the top job.

"Personally I think it's a match against another country, same as usual. It's decisive for qualification.

"That's not got much to do with the coaches. At work we have a relationship of perfect trust. We've stayed in contact, we eat together, we talk about football, we talk about Germany, the United States.

"It's a friendship and it won't suffer from this match.

"But the people who know us, know that we're both ambitious. On the pitch, we want to win," said Loew.

Germany don't actually need to win to top the group as a draw, which would ensure both teams go through to the last 16, would keep Das Mannschaft ahead on goal difference.

Even if Germany lose, they would still likely make it through as group runners-up as they beat Portugal 4-0 earlier in the competition.

Portugal would need a huge victory over Ghana to overtake Germany while even the Africans would need to score a fair few goals to deny Loew's team a place in the knock-outs.

But Loew isn't interested in the permutations, less still thinking about who Germany would face in the second round should they qualify.

"We're following what's going on everywhere. Nothing has been decided yet.

"There's no-one we want to avoid (in the last 16) and we're not speculating.

"We'll take any opposition, but that's not why we want to finish top.

"We're not thinking about the maths, we just want to win. Finishing top is the aim."

Whoever finishes second is likely to face the talented Belgians in the second round, while the team that tops the group would be more likely to come across Algeria, or perhaps Russia.

Either which way, a draw would suit both Germany and the US as it would guarantee both a place in the knock-out rounds.

That scenario has brought back memories of a scandalous match from the 1982 World Cup when the then West Germany and neighbours Austria effectively stopped playing after reaching a 1-0 scoreline that ensured they would both progress from their group at Algeria's expense.

But Loew insisted there is no chance of such a shameful repeat.

"That doesn't mean anything for my team," he said.

"The majority of my players weren't even born. They don't have an opinion because they didn't see the match.

"It's not easy to understand now, we don't know how that happened.

"But Jurgen and I are thinking about playing to win."

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