Germany Coach Loew Sticks With Misfiring Gomez for Wales Game | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 01.04.2009
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Germany Coach Loew Sticks With Misfiring Gomez for Wales Game

Germany coach Joachim Loew will keep faith with luckless striker Mario Gomez against a Wales side he believes will have to attack in their Group 4 World Cup qualifier on Wednesday.

Germany's Michael Ballack, right, and James Collins of Wales challenge for the ball during the soccer World Cup qualifying group 4 match between Wales and Germany at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales Wednesday April 1,2009.

Captain Michael Ballack scored a beauty for Germany

The fact that Wales were beaten 2-0 at home by Finland on Saturday means John Toshack's side will have to go all out for victory in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Loew believes.

That could give the German side more room up front - and might help Mario Gomez in his search for a goal - as they seek the three points which will put them even closer to World Cup qualification.

Germany are still four points clear of Russia with 13 points from five games. Russia, who have a game in hand, visit Liechtenstein on Wednesday.

Finland, who are not in action, are third in the group on seven points from four games, with Wales now struggling on six from five games.

Germany's 4-0 victory over Liechtenstein in Leipzig on Saturday was workmanlike but did not bring the rush of goals the Germans had experienced in their three previous meetings, which garnered a total of 23.

And once again absent from the scorers' list was VfB Stuttgart striker Gomez who earned jeers and whistles from home fans after yet another game without hitting the target for Germany.

Patience not jeers needed for struggling Gomez

The 23-year-old has notched up 14 goals in the Bundesliga but has gone more than a year -- 643 playing minutes -- without scoring for the national side.

Germany's Mario Gomez in action against Switzerland

The ball and Gomez have been on different wavelengths

"Expectations of me are high, but I was nevertheless disappointed to be booed so quickly. I hadn't experienced this before and it took me by surprise," Gomez said.

Loew said Gomez would start again in what is expected to be a largely unchanged side. Praising the striker for his effort, he said he could not understand the fans' reaction.

"Mario needs the public's support in a phase like this," he said.

Team manager Oliver Bierhoff said Gomez needs time and patience to overcome his 13-match international goal drought that has gripped the country.

"He has a great career in front of him. He is young. We have to give him time," Bierhoff told reporters as media speculated whether Wednesday's game against Wales would be the Stuttgart forward's last as a starting striker for some time.

"This is part of every striker's career. You cannot talk about a sporting crisis as he has continued to score for his club," Bierhoff said. "This is purely a mental issue. For strikers this is always the case."

Loew expecting an attacking Wales side

Germany's Lukas Podolski, right, challenges Carl Fletcher and Jason Koumas from Wales for the ball during their World Cup group 4 qualifying soccer match between Germany and Wales in Moenchengladbach, western Germany, in October, 2008.

Germany beat Wales at home last year

Germany beat Wales 1-0 in October, and Loew wants all three points again against a side whose chances of qualifying have now all but faded following the defeat by Finland.

Loew would normally be expecting defensive opponents but says they will now have to play a more attacking game.

"They will be out to show a reaction against us. If they want to have any chance at all they will have to beat us," he said.

Germany also announced that midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger will be fit for Wednesday's match at the Millennium Stadium.

The Bayern Munich player scored Germany's third goal in the comfortable 4-0 victory over minnows Liechtenstein but missed Monday's training session in order to help heal a groin injury.

"Bastian has a slight groin strain, but there is no danger of him missing the Wales game," said Bierhoff. "The fact he missed training was just a precautionary measure, he just needs another half day of rest."

And Hamburg winger Piotr Trochowski, who scored the winner against the Welsh in Germany's 1-0 win last year, is fit for selection after missing the Liechtenstein win with a knee injury.

Germany captain Michael Ballack warned his compatriots to expect a sterner test in Cardiff than the one they'd been presented with in Leipzig.

"That was not the strongest opponent we will face, but we did the job and we know Wales will be a different class."

Frustrated Welsh coach accepts limitations

Welsh coach John Toshack

Toshack knows his young team aren't ready to qualify

The Welsh were despondent after their own defeat on Saturday, and coach Toshack will have to lift the spirits of a young team he says are not ready to qualify for major international tournaments.

"This current crop isn't ready," he said. "It hurts and it's frustrating but that's the truth of it. You look at the young lads, they come through and then some of them hit the brick wall."

However defender James Collins says no one should think about giving up the campaign yet.

"Maybe (we need) a change of attitude to what we're trying to do," he said. "Everyone is technically good on the ball and we are knocking it about lovely but we have not got that final cutting edge."

Despite the defeat against Finland, the West Ham defender said the team must still believe in its chances.

"You never say never. As long as the points are still there, you're not going to say you're not going to qualify but it's a massive dent to us (losing against Finland)," he said.

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