Low dampens Gustavo desires
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Germany coach Joachim Low today told Bayern Munich's Brazil-born midfielder Luiz Gustavo he should get a German passport first if he wants to play his way into the national team.

"If a player has a German passport, he can possibly be a candidate for the national side," Low told German newspaper TZ. "But I don't think anyone should use the national team to get a German passport."

Having joined Bayern from Hoffenheim earlier this month, Gustavo, 23, has said he would like to play for Germany and team manager Oliver Bierhoff has said the case of the defensive midfielder will be discussed by the national coaching team.

Germany play Italy in a friendly in Dortmund on 9 February. Low will announce his team next week and there will be plenty of interest in whether Michael Ballack returns to the side. The 34-year-old made his first start for Leverkusen since suffering a fractured leg in September in the 2-0 win over Hanover on yesterday. Ballack missed last June's FIFA World Cup™ with an ankle injury and in his absence Philipp Lahm captained Germany to third in South Africa.

If a player has a German passport, he can possibly be a candidate for the national side, but I don't think anyone should use the national team to get a German passport.
Joachim Low, Germany coach

Meanwhile, Low has said there will be a place in his squad to face the Italians for Miroslav Klose, despite the veteran having been relegated to Bayern's bench. With 58 goals in 105 appearances for Germany, Klose is closing in on Gerd Mueller's record of 68 goals for the national side and has said he wants to play for Germany at UEFA EURO 2012 to be hosted by the Ukraine and Poland.

"Klose has a place," said Low. "There is no need for a discussion as far as we are concerned. We have a high opinon of him, whether or not he plays for Bayern. Everyone saw at the World Cup how important he was for us."

Klose has lost his place in the Bayern team to Mario Gomez and Loew said he is pleased to see how Gomez has recaptured his old form with 15 goals in 17 league games this season.

"Gomez is putting on the pressure for a place in the national team," said Low. "He is playing like the Gomez that everyone knows. He has some belief back and he is self-confident again in front of goal. Mario is only 25 and will have a place with us for many years to come."