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Sports

Dortmund's Weidenfeller called up to Germany team for first time

Coach Joachim Löw has called up Roman Weidenfeller to the German national team for the first time. The Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper will be part of the squad that takes on Italy and England later this month.

At 33, Roman Weidenfeller is finally getting his chance with Germany, Löw said on Friday. His performances for Dortmund – who currently sit second in the Bundesliga table – have been too good to ignore.

Although Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer remains the undisputed number one for Germany, Löw said, Weidenfeller's call-up means he now has the chance to fight for the backup or third goalkeeping spot ahead of next summer's World Cup in Brazil.

"We have observed Roman Weidenfeller for a long time and taken note of his constant strong performances for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga and Champions League," said the Germany coach. "We are looking forward to having him with us and getting to know him more closely."

Weidenfeller has been Dortmund's number one man between the posts for more than a decade, but a slew of good German keepers like Oliver Kahn, Jens Lehmann and Neuer have kept him out of the Germany jersey. Now with two league titles, a German Cup trophy and a Champions League runners-up medal, Löw has no choice but to take notice.

The Dortmund keeper, who recently celebrated his 300th Bundesliga match, will be competing with Hamburg's Rene Adler for Germany's backup spot. Also in the mix but not called up for the latest round of friendlies are the more traditional options like Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover) and Marc-Andre ter-Stegen (Borussia Mönchengladbach).

Klose recalled

Löw also announced a return to the squad for Miroslav Klose. The Lazio striker missed Germany's final World Cup qualifiers in October after undergoing a foot operation. The call-up gives Klose, 35, a chance to win his 131st cap for Germany and finally break Gerd Müller's all-time scoring record of 68, which he equaled in Septemberagainst Austria.

"It is good for us that Miro is back again, he enriches every team," said Löw.

Bayer Leverkusen's Sidney Sam has again been named to the squad. The 25-year-old made his competitive debut on September 10 against the Faroe Islands after a fantastic start to the Bundesliga season. His seven goals in 11 games put him third in the league scoring charts.

Bayern Munich's Bastian Schweinsteiger was not called up after his club announced earlier on Friday that the star midfielder will need to undergo ankle surgery. Other senior team regulars missing through injury are Lukas Podolski (Arsenal), Mario Gomez (Fiorentina) and Ilkay Gündogan (Dortmund).

Germanywill play Italy in Milan on November 15 before traveling to London four days later to take on England in Wembley Stadium. The upcoming matches will mark a special occasion for Löw. The game against Italy will be his 100th in charge of Germany. In 99 matches going back to 2006, Löw has had 68 wins, 16 draws and 15 defeats.

Full squad:

Goalkeepers: Rene Adler (Hamburg), Manuel Neuer (Bayern), Roman Weidenfeller (Dortmund)

Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern), Benedikt Höwedes (Schalke), Mats Hummels (Dortmund), Marcell Jansen (Hamburg), Philipp Lahm (Bayern), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), Marcel Schmelzer (Dortmund), Heiko Westermann (Hamburg)

Midfielders: Lars Bender (Leverkusen), Sven Bender (Dortmund), Julian Draxler (Schalke), Mario Götze (Bayern), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Toni Kroos (Bayern), Thomas Müller (Bayern), Mesut Özil (Arsenal), Marco Reus (Dortmund), Sidney Sam (Leverkusen), Andre Schürrle (Chelsea)

Forwards: Miroslav Klose (Lazio), Max Kruse (Borussia Mönchengladbach)