No friendly farewell for Lehmann

Former German international goalkeeper Jens Lehmann will not have his wish granted of making a nostalgic final appearance in the friendly with England here on 19 November, German coach Joachim Low announced on Monday.

The 38-year-old Stuttgart keeper had said he wished to have one final appearance at the ground where he produced one of his finer performances in his 61 caps when he saved two Argentinian penalties in the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ quarter-final penalty shootout.

However, while Low said he could see why Lehmann had wanted one final appearance and against a country where he played for five years with Arsenal there were bigger issues at stake.

"We have to use our friendly matches as a way of giving our young goalkeepers more experience at international level," explained Low. "It would of course have been great for Jens to once more don the national team shirt.

"Especially against England, where he played for five years with Arsenal. However, the wider brief is the forthcoming sporting challenges and they must have priority."

Low, who guided Germany to the UEFA EURO 2008 final and now to the top of their World Cup qualifying group, did pay a handsome tribute to Lehmann, whose last appearance for Germany was in the 1-0 defeat by Spain in the Euro final.

"Jens brought a lot to German football and was for me an important go between during our four years together at international level," said Low.