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Sports

Germany face Chile 100 days before World Cup

Germany coach Joachim Löw is seeking a new winning formula ahead of this year's World Cup. Team captain Philipp Lahm has excelled in his new midfield position at Bayern, and say's he'd gladly fill that role in Brazil.

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Experimental Löw squad a warning to regulars

Bayern Munich's Philipp Lahm (pictured above left) has vowed to be ready to change his position for Joachim Löw ahead of the World Cup.

Germany face the stern opposition in Wednesday's friendly against Chile in Stuttgart. Although Lahm has still to switch his position for the national team, he said he was happy to shuffle his role for the good of the team.

"I feel comfortable in that position," Lahm said on Tuesday. "It is something new; new situations in midfield and you face different situations from those as a full back. I can imagine playing there in the coming weeks, months or years but I will always play where the coach thinks I am most needed."

Lahm has spent most of his playing career at right or left full-back, but the arrival of coach Pep Guardiola this summer has seen Lahm slot adeptly into a new midfield position in the absence of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez.

"There are still a few months to go until the World Cup and we will see who is fit, who is injured and who is in form and at the end of the day it is the coach who decides," the 104-time German international said.

Loyal Löw experiments, somewhat unusually

The return of Dortmund local boy Kevin Grosskreutz to the Germany set-up, after four years away, could give Lahm some hope of a change in position. Like Lahm, Grosskreutz has showcased his versatility this season, only in reverse. The midfielder has spent much of the campaign deputizing at right-back in Dortmund's decimated defense, making him a potential candidate for Lahm's regular spot in the German back four.

Meanwhile, Löw has taken the opportunity to offer first-time call-ups to Andre Hahn of Augsburg, Matthias Ginter of Freiburg, Hertha Berlin's Pierre-Michel Lasogga - who is on loan at Hamburg - and Shkodran Mustafi from Italian side Genoa.

"Several players have been injured for months, while others have struggled with a lack of rhythm or form." Löw explained on Tuesday. "With a view to the World Cup, we won't make any compromises. We have to get everything in line to be successful."

For 21-year-old Genoa central-defender Mustafi - who formerly was on the books of Hamburg and then English club Everton - there are split cultural loyalties at stake for the player who helped Germany win the 2009 U21 European Championships.

"I have been massively fortunate to enjoy a top football education with the DFB [German Football Association]," he told German broadcaster Sport1. "For me, as a German junior international, there was never any question of playing for another country. I feel more Albanian than German, even though I was born there, but there was never a question of playing for Albania."

rd/msh (AFP, Reuters)

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