Helmes hopes to impress Loew

Striker Patrick Helmes is hoping to win a place in Germany coach Joachim Loew's starting line-up for next month UEFA EURO 2012 qualifiers after putting his injury nightmares behind him.

Leverkusen's Helmes scored a hat-trick against Rosenborg in his side's 4-0 win on Thursday in the UEFA Europa League.

After a cruciate knee ligament injury cost him a FIFA World Cup™ place, he is hoping to feature in next month's EURO 2012 qualifiers.

The 26-year-old tore his cruciate ligament in a freak accident while playing football with friends just after the 2009 German Cup final, when his team lost to Werder Bremen.

Helmes struggled to regain his fitness after his return last November and missed the trip to South Africa, but is hoping to face Turkey and Kazakhstan for Germany next month.

"Now it seems that my tough year is behind me and the sun can shine on me again," Helmes told German daily Bild.

"The national team is a topic for me, but in the meantime, I want to score a few more goals for Leverkusen in the next few weeks."

Helmes has scored two goals for Germany and won 13 caps, but he netted in the 2-2 draw with Denmark last month in a friendly on his first appearance for the national side in more than a year.