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Low attacks striking criticisms

Joachim Low hit back at claims he does not have enough strikers, saying his Germany squad is blessed with an array of attacking talent.

Low caused a surprise when he named veteran Miroslav Klose as the only out-and-out striker in his 23-man squad for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Fiorentina striker Mario Gomez was overlooked for tournament, where Germany will come up against Portugal, United States and Ghana in Group G.

But Low, who claims the role of strikers has changed in the modern game, believes the likes of Marco Reus, Thomas Muller, Lukas Podolski and Andre Schurrle are versatile enough to play up front ahead of Germany’s final warm-up match against Armenia in Mainz on Friday.

Muller scored 25 goals in total for Bayern Munich in 2013-14, Reus scored 22 in all competitions for Borussia Dortmund, Podolski was on target on 12 occasions for Arsenal, while Chelsea’s Schurrle bagged nine.

“The topic of a false nine, regular nine was discussed for a very long time, and commented on by experts – for me personally that isn’t something I’ll take as luggage to Brazil,” Low told reporters.

“Otherwise we would have to pay excess baggage for it.

“These guys are trained to attack and create chances to score. We have enough possibilities. The type of players who play as a striker has possibly changed recently.

“Even Klose is not the player who is always in the box. When you’re only waiting for balls in the middle then you won’t have a chance today.

“The strikers nowadays have to have a good technique, have to be flexible, have to get into spaces and move a lot. So I am of the opinion that we have enough players who can play as a striker.”

Germany’s preparations for the World Cup have also been hampered by fitness concerns surrounding captain Philipp Lahm (ankle) and Bastian Schweinsteiger (knee), though both are expected to return against Armenia.

However, Friday’s match has come too soon for goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who is still recovering from a shoulder injury, with Roman Weidenfeller set to retain his place.

“Lahm told me after the training sessions that they, he and Schweinsteiger, did not have problems at all and were able to practice with the ball,” Low said.

“Neuer has done a lot but we spoke with each other and decided that he won’t play against Armenia because we just won’t take any risk. But in his opinion and in the opinion of doctor (Hans-Wilhelm) Muller-Wohlfahrt there is no problem at all.

“As soon as we are in Brazil he will practice normally as a goalkeeper. So there is absolutely no problem that Manuel can’t play the first match against Portugal.”

Germany kick-off their World Cup campaign against Portugal on June 16.

Fri 6 June, 2014
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