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Germany Soccer Coach Mulls Striker Dilemma for Euro 2008

Germany coach Joachim Loew said it would be difficult to choose a striker to fill the remaining forward position up for grabs in the squad for next month's European Championship.

Germany coach Joachim Löw

Germany coach Loew needs to choose a fifth striker ahead of Euro 2008

Four players are thought certain of a place in the 23-man squad, but Loew told the German dpa news agency on Friday, May 9, that he still was not sure who to take as a fifth striker to the Euro 2008 tournament in Austria and Switzerland.

"It is the most difficult decisions," Loew said. "Every one of them has his strengths."

Loew may also name a squad of 25 or 26 players next Friday to take to a 10-day training camp in Majorca three days later.

The squad would then be trimmed to 23 when the final list is presented to UEFA, European soccer's governing body, by the May 28 deadline, a day after Germany play a friendly against Belarus in Kaiserslautern.

The usual suspects

Germany's Lukas Podolski, left, celebrates with his teammate Miroslav Klose, right, after Podolski scored his side's second goal during the Germany v Sweden Round of 16 soccer match at the 2006 World Cup

Podolski and Klose have been regulars on the German national side

With four weeks to the start of Euro 2008, Miroslav Klose, Lukas Podolski, who both play for Bayern Munich, Mario Gomez of VfB Stuttgart, and Kevin Kuranyi, who is at Schalke 04, can bank on their places in the squad barring injury.

Loew will have all his scouting staff at matches on Saturday in the penultimate games of the Bundesliga season. The 48-year-coach will be watching at home on television for a "general overview."

Loew will then sit down with his staff on Monday for a three-day meeting to finalize the squad.

Tough choice

Stefan Kiessling of Nuremberg and Mike Hanke of Hanover are vying for a place among the strikers, but also in the running are Oliver Neuville and Patrick Helmes of second-division clubs Borussia Moenchengladbach and Cologne, respectively.

"We are not stopping at the second division," Loew said. "Neuville with his goals has played a decisive part in Borussia Moenchengladbach's immediate promotion back into the first division," Loew said.

Some other positions are also up for grabs, with players who have not featured recently such as midfielders Tim Borowski (Werder Bremen), David Odonkor (Real Betis) and Jermaine Jones (Schalke) showing good late-season form.

Meanwhile, Loew reported positive news on Real Madrid defender Christoph Metzelder who has not played this year because of a foot injury.

"It's looking good," he said. "Christoph has been training fully again for some time with the Real Madrid team and has no problems."

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