Germany Looks Forward to Wales, Not Back at Kuranyi | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 13.10.2008
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Germany Looks Forward to Wales, Not Back at Kuranyi

The German soccer squad is not shedding any tears over Kevin Kuranyi as it gears up for its next World Cup qualifier, against Wales, on Wednesday night.

Michael Ballack, left, Bastian Schweinsteiger, right, and Miroslav Klose celebrate Ballack's goal against Russia on Saturday, Oct. 11

All eyes in the German national squad are geared towards Wednesday's clash with Wales

The three-time world champions are coming off a morale-boosting 2-1 victory against a swift, counter-offensive Russia in which they played a superb first half before running into trouble through poor defending after the break.

On Wednesday, Germany will meet a defense-minded Welsh team, with patience likely to be the key.

"Wales play differently than Russia. They defend well, are a typical British team," said Germany coach Joachim Loew on Monday.

"Our aim is six points from those two games. The victory against Russia would be worth nothing if we lose against Wales."

Captain Michael Ballack is a doubt for for the Wales game due to a calf injury he picked up in the 2-1 weekend victory over Russia.

The 32-year-old Chelsea midfielder was unable to take part in training Monday and instead received intensive medical treatment.

The German soccer federation's (DFB) medical team refused to comment on the chances of Ballack recovering in time but the player has suffered from the problem several times in his career.

Kuranyi kicks back, apologetically

Loew did not want to dwell on Kuranyi, who was told Sunday his services were no longer required by the national team after he left Dortmund stadium during halftime of the Russia match.

A Schalke fan holds a poster with Kevin Kuranyi's faced stencilled on

Schalke striker Kuranyi is both loved and hated

Having made 52 appearances for Germany, Kuranyi would have been expected to put faith in Loew's decision to leave him out of the squad to face Russia by watching the full match, but now he must live with the knowledge that he will not be selected for national team duties so long as Loew is in charge.

The 26-year-old later apologized for walking out during the game, saying at a press conference Monday he had faced a difficult situation over the past years "as a player and a human being," citing, for example, having been omitted from Germany's 2006 World Cup squad.

"I told him (Loew) what I felt over the last three years as a player and as a person.

"I always tried to give it all I had. It was a very difficult situation. We had the World Cup at home and Kevin Kuranyi wasn't there," he said, adding that he had had a particularly hard time being jeered by Schalke fans, but was hopeful that the dust would soon settle.

Kuranyi wouldn't rule out a return to the national team, but said that decision was up to others.

At a parallel press conference, Loew insisted that he "can't look after just one player," and added he "didn't want this situation ... (but) the decision has been made and we must look ahead to Wednesday."

"A team is not only made up of 11 players, but of 20 or so. That is also the case at Schalke," he said.

Loew spoiled for options

Left to right, Michael Ballack, Lukas Podolski, Thomas Hitzlsperger and Miroslav Klose

Germany's strike force offers Loew a generous platter to choose from

Loew could afford to release Kuranyi as it appears there is no shortage of offensive firepower in the German squad, with Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez all in the mix for first-team action.

The starting 11 for the Wales clash is yet to be revealed, but Loew has said that no player was guaranteed a place based on reputation alone -- as was the case with midfielder Torsten Frings who was benched until late in the game against Russia.

Loew has several difficult decisions to make with regards his midfield and attack, while Bayer Leverkusen's Rene Adler will feature in goal again after a strong debut against the Russians.

Germany currently sit atop Group 4 with seven points, with Wales only one behind after beating Liechtenstein 2-0 on Saturday. The Welsh have set their sights on an upset come Wednesday with memories of their 0-0 draw last year in Euro 2008 qualifying still fresh.

Germany had already been assured of qualifying at the time, but Wales captain Criag Bellamy is nonetheless upbeat about the upcoming clash.

"We can score goals against decent teams, and there is no more decent side than Germany. It may sound strange, but to play against the bigger, better teams is easier," said the West Ham frontman.

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