St. Petersburg - Reigning world champions Germany have discovered who they will face in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The preliminary draw, which took place at the Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg, pitted Joachim Löw's side against the Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Norway, Azerbaijan and San Marino in Group C.

"We've been drawn in an interesting group with good opponents," said Löw. "Obviously we're happy with the draw. As world champions we want to finish top of our group and we're favourites to do so."