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Mario Gomez out of Germany squad for World Cup qualifiers with "muscle stiffness"

Mario Gomez will miss Germany's qualifiers with Czech Republic and Northern Ireland after withdrawing from the squad citing "muscle stiffness." Despite a lack of strikers, Joachim Löw will not call up a replacement.

Gomez' club Wolfsburg announced on Tuesday that the forward will not travel to Hamburg, where Germany host the Czech Republic on Saturday before taking on Northern Ireland on Tuesday in Hanover.

The 31-year -old was the only experienced natural striker in Löw's squad, with Kevin Volland, Mario Götze and Thomas Müller among the alternatives. The latter pair have played up front for Germany in the past with mixed results while Volland has yet to score in seven senior appearances for his country.

Despite Gomez's poor start to the season - he has yet to score for his new club - the target man is seen by many as a crucial player for the national side. Though he didn't begin in the starting eleven at Euro 2016,Gomez forced his way in to contention as the tournament progressed, scoring the winner against Northern Ireland in the group stages and a first half goal agains Slovakia in the round of 16 before succumbing to injury.

The blow comes just days after Löw bemoaned his side's inefficiency in front of goal in an interview with German newspaper Die Welt. But despite that, and the claims of Mark Uth, Alexander Meier and Timo Werner, who have each scored three league goals this term, Löw willmake do with those already in the squad.

 The Germans top Group C after one game - a 3-0 win at Norway. Also in the group are Azerbaijan and San Marino.
 

(Reuters/AP)

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