World Cup - Germany's Loew snubs Kiessling, mulls striker-free future

Germany coach Joachim Loew has again snubbed Bayer Leverkusen striker Stefan Kiessling for the two 2014 World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan later this month, saying he planned for a future that may not include natural forwards.

Reuters
World Cup - German players' lack of form is major headache for Loew
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Germany coach Joachim Loew (Reuters)

Loew, who on Thursday called up only one out-and-out forward in Mario Gomez for the games on March 22 and 26, said Kiessling may be playing a fine season but he did not necessarily fit his overall philosophy.

First choice striker Miroslav Klose will be missing through injury.

"This squad of 20 in-field players is enough for me," Loew told reporters. "This quality is enough for these games and I have enough options up front."

Kiessling, second-best league scorer with 16 goals so far this season, won the last of his six caps in the third place match against Uruguay at the 2010 World Cup.

Loew's consistent refusal to recall the in-form tall striker has repeatedly raised eyebrows and generated some criticism.

"He has his qualities, he has shown he can score but it is also a matter of philosophy," said Loew, whose team leads their qualifying group C with 10 points from four games.

"I have been thinking about it a lot, about dangerous players who can switch positions. If they play with variety you don't have to have a centre forward."

"To have this flexibility and variety can surprise the opponents, either as an option to start like that or during the game."

Spain set the standard at last year's European championships when they defended their title playing for much of the tournament with no designated forward.

"It may be a thing of the future not to have the big, physical strikers but rather those who can move in very tight spaces," Loew said.

There were no other surprises in his squad, with Bastian Schweinsteiger returning along with Borussia Dortmund trio Marco Reus, Mario Goetze and Marcel Schmelzer, all of whom had missed February's 2-1 friendly win in France through injury.

"It is up to us to shape these games. If we reach our potential we will win them both," he said. "Kazakhstan have a good defence, they will try to bring us out of the rhythm."

"It's the game of the year for them. They want to show on the international stage what they can do. They have become smarter and more compact in defence. They have developed in the past two years."

GERMANY SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Rene Adler (Hamburg SV), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hanover 96).

Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich) Benedikt Hoewedes (Schalke 04), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund) Heiko Westermann (Hamburg SV)

Midfielders: Lars Bender (Bayer Leverkusen), Sven Bender (Borussia Dortmund) Julian Draxler (Schalke 04), Mario Goetze (Borussia Dortmund), Ilkay Guendogan (Borussia Dortmund), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich), Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid), Lukas Podolski (Arsenal), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Andre Schuerrle (Bayer Leverkusen), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich).

Forwards: Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich)

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