Germany coach Joachim Löw has announced his line-up for the final two games of qualifying for next year’s World Cup. Despite injuries to two of his strikers, he has not recalled Leverkusen’s Stefan Kiessling.
The German national squad named by head coach Löw on Friday didn't include many major surprises, but there had been speculation that injuries to first-choice strikers Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez might lead him to rehabilitate Bayer Leverkusen's Stefan Kiessling.
However, Löw decided against including the last year's top goal-scorer in the Bundesliga, electing to go instead with just one out-and-out striker, Max Kruse of Borussia Mönchengladbach. The decision comes despite the fact that Kiessling has been on slightly better scoring form in the first few weeks of the current campaign, having netted five goals in seven games, compared to Kruse's four.
Despite leaving Kiessling out at a time when many might have thought it the perfect time to give him another chance, Löw said the door was still open a crack that could, in theory at least, see the Leverkusen striker recalled for next summer's World Cup finals in Brazil. In a video posted on the German FA's website, Löw said he had informed Kiessling of his decision earlier in the week, and that Kiessling had agreed to be available for the World Cup finals, should Germany need him.
"He will make himself available, and I think that's great. I know what he can do. I also respect his performances in the Bundesliga," Löw said.
Also missing from the squad due to injury are Lukas Podolski, Ilkay Gündogan and Marcel Schmelzer. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Götze, who were unavailable to the national team last month, return to the line-up.
Germany go into their final two games of the qualifying campaign needing at least one win or two draws to punch their tickets for their trip to Brazil next summer.
First they are to face Ireland in Cologne next Friday, October 11, then they travel to Stockholm to face Sweden on the following Tuesday.
Germany go into their final two games clearly in the driver's seat, sitting in first place in Group C of the European zone, five points ahead of second-place Sweden. The nine group winners and the best eight second-place finishers qualify for the finals in Brazil.
Here is the full 22-man German squad for the matches in Cologne and Stockholm:
Goal: Rene Adler (Hamburg), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hanover)
Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern), Benedikt Höwedes (Schalke), Mats Hummels (Dortmund), Marcell Jansen (Hamburg), Philipp Lahm (Bayern), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal)
Midfielders: Lars Bender (Leverkusen), Sven Bender (Dortmund), Julian Draxler (Schalke), Mario Götze (Bayern), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Toni Kroos (Bayern), Thomas Müller (Bayern), Mesut Özil (Arsenal), Marco Reus (Dortmund), Sidney Sam (Leverkusen), Andre Schürrle (Chelsea), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern)
Striker: Max Kruse (Mönchengladbach)