Germany's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ captain Philipp Lahm insists mounting injury problems will not alter the team's goals for the tournament.
Coach Joachim Low has already been deprived of five players for the competition in South Africa, with Schalke defender Heiko Westermann the latest to be ruled out, but Lahm is still eyeing a place in the semi-finals.
The withdrawal of Westermann, who broke his foot during Saturday's 3-0 friendly win over Hungary in Budapest, comes after injury had put paid to the hopes of goalkeeper Rene Adler, Simon Rolfes, Christian Trasch and most importantly skipper Michael Ballack.
Clearly our goal as the German national team is to reach the semi-finals. And clearly we also dream of more.
Those injuries will hardly make Germany's task any easier - they are in a tough-looking group alongside Serbia, Ghana and Australia - but Lahm still believes the squad is strong enough to make an impact in South Africa. "That we have lost players who are enormously important for us is a shame," said the Bayern Munich full-back, chosen as Low's captain in place of Ballack, at a press conference today.
"But we still have a top squad which can go far," the defender added. "Clearly our goal as the German national team is to reach the semi-finals. And clearly we also dream of more."
Low, meanwhile, admits out-of-sorts striker Miroslav Klose will find it tough to turn his form around in time for the FIFA World Cup finals. The 31-year-old, who has scored 48 times in 95 games for his country, struggled for games and goals with Bayern Munich last season.
And in the win over Hungary he looked a shadow of the player who finished top scorer at the 2006 finals . "It is clear that it will be no easy task to get Miro in form," Low said in the Bild newspaper. "It will be hard work, for him, for us. He has to work a lot. He still hasn't shown the form that he is actually capable of. For Miro it is now about becoming more certain in training."
Low, though, offered words of encouragement for Klose, who has scored five goals in each of the last two World Cups. "People have often written Miro off before," he added of the striker whose last international goal came in the 1-0 qualifying win away to Russia last October. "But when it comes to it, he is there."