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Löw announces first squad for World Cup Qualifiers

Germany have named their squad to compete in the first qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Play starts next month against the Faroe Islands and Austria.

Captain Philipp Lahm and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer have been recalled to the German national team for September's World Cup Qualifiers. Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger will remain at home because of coach Joachim Löw's concerns over his fitness.

"I have spoken with Bastian and we have come to the understanding that he still needs some time to get back into training and match rhythm," said Löw. "Our plan for Bastian Schweinsteiger centers around the two matches in October against Ireland and Sweden."

Lahm had missed Germany's 3-1 defeat to Argentina in mid-August due to the birth of his son. Neuer had to withdraw from the squad with a hip injury.

The Arsenal pair of Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker return to the German national team for the first time since Euro 2012. Löw left the two out of the last squad as they were preparing to begin the English Premier League season.

Germany open their qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil on Sept. 7 in Hanover against the Faroe Islands. They travel to Vienna four days later to play Austria.

After losing to Italy in the semifinal of Euro 2012, Löw has his sights set on qualifying for the World Cup. "We are all looking forward to it beginning," he said. "Obviously we want to start with two victories in Hanover and Vienna, and carry that momentum with us for the rest of the year."

Germany's squad for the Faroe Islands and Austria:

Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover 96), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Borussia Mönchengladbach)

Defenders: Holger Badstuber, Jerome Boateng, Philipp Lahm (all Bayern), Benedikt Hoewedes (Schalke 04), Mats Hummels, Marcel Schmelzer (both Borussia Dortmund), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal)

Midfielders: Julian Draxler (Schalke), Mario Götze, Ilkay Gundogan, Marco Reus (all Dortmund), Sami Khedira, Mesut Özil (both Real Madrid), Toni Kroos, Thomas Müller (both Bayern), Lukas Podolski (Arsenal), Lars Bender, Andre Schürrle (both Bayer Leverkusen)

Forwards: Miroslav Klose (Lazio)

dr/pfd  (SID, Reuters, dpa)

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