Bayern Munich forward Lukas Podolski has been recalled to the Germany squad for FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers against Liechtenstein and Wales.
Podolski has spent much of this season on Bayern's bench behind first-choice forwards Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose, but injury to the pair has given the 23-year-old his chance with three goals in his last three games. And with Klose, top scorer at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, out of the qualifiers with an ankle injury, Podolski is back in the squad having missed the friendly defeat to Norway last month.
"It is very pleasing that Lukas is playing well for Bayern again," said Germany coach Joachim Low. "Regardless, we would have invited him into the squad for the two international matches, because we always said Lukas has the correct rhythm in training and is a valuable striker."
Germany have lost both of their last two home games - for the first time since 1956 - and there is pressure on Loew to get his team back to winning ways after friendly defeats to England and Norway. Hertha Berlin defender Arne Friedrich and Bayern Munich's Marcell Jansen have also been recalled with Germany set to face Liechtenstein in Leipzig on 28 March and Wales in Cardiff on 1 April.
Hanover goalkeeper Robert Enke is back in the squad after breaking his thumb last autumn. And Wolfsburg's Marcel Schaefer and Hoffenheim's Andreas Beck retain their places in the squad. "It is important to select players for several fixtures," said Loew. "I am also pleased Robert Enke is fit again, he has found his old form fast."
Having lost his place in the German defence during UEFA EURO 2008, Marcell Jansen is back from injury by being named as a midfielder in the squad and made his last appearance against Belgium in August. "We have named him in the midfield, because his Hamburg team-mate Piotr Trochowski has an injury question mark over him," explained Loew.
Beside veterans captain Michael Ballack and Torsten Frings, Hertha defender Friedrich is back in the squad following a back injury and stands to win his 65th cap.
"It is an advantage that we can use him to help us organise the defence," said Low. "With Hertha, he has proven his class and experience this season, which owes something to his constant performances and has been a large part of their success at the top of the table."
Goalkeepers: Rene Adler (Leverkusen), Robert Enke (Hanover), Tim Wiese (Werder Bremen)
Defence: Andreas Beck (Hoffenheim), Arne Friedrich (Berlin), Andreas Hinkel (Celtic/SCO), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Per Mertesacker (Werder Bremen), Marcel Schaefer (Wolfsburg), Serdar Tasci (Stuttgart), Heiko Westermann (Schalke 04)
Midfielders: Michael Ballack (Chelsea/ENG), Torsten Frings (Werder Bremen), Thomas Hitzlsperger (Stuttgart), Marcell Jansen (Hamburg), Marko Marin (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Simon Rolfes (Leverkusen), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Piotr Trochowski (Hamburg)
Forwards: Mario Gomez (Stuttgart), Patrick Helmes (Leverkusen), Stefan Kiessling (Leverkusen), Lukas Podolski (Bayern Munich)