Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter says the absence of Germany's top two singles players has left the teams evenly matched for this week's tie in Hamburg.
World number 18 Philipp Kohlschreiber was omitted following a falling out with team captain Patrick Kuehnen while US-based number 21 Tommy Haas opted to skip the tie in his old hometown.
"I don't think there are any clear favourites," Rafter said.
"The German team is very strong and they have a lot of depth and are able to fill the positions really well.
"We give ourselves a good chance of winning but I would not say we were favourites by any means."
The Germans will be led by world number 25 Florian Mayer with Cedrik-Marcel Stebe tipped to fill the second spot because of his superior record on clay to Philipp Petzschner and Benjamin Becker.
Australia's doubles combination of Lleyton Hewitt and Chris Guccione fine tuned their game under cover at Rothenbaum Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
They practised against Matthew Ebden and James Duckworth with rain expected to keep the roof on later this week.
If Australia defeats the Germans, they will return to the 16-nation World Group for the first time since 2007.
The nation has found it a tough slog in play-offs, losing four in five years to Switzerland, Belgium, Chile and Serbia.
In 2009, Australia pulled out of a tie in India because of security concerns.
The tie against Germany will start at 11.30am (7:30pm AEST) on Friday.
AAPTags: sport, tennis, germany, australia First posted September 12, 2012 07:53:55