Low recalls Khedira, targets ten wins
Germany coach Joachim Low has recalled Sami Khedira and Dennis Aogo to his squad to face Turkey and Belgium next week, naming an experienced group of 24 players for the final UEFA EURO 2012 qualifiers. Khedira missed out due to injury when Germany faced Austria and Poland earlier this month, while Aogo was not selected for those matches. Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez also returns after pulling out of the last squad through injury.
Germany have already qualified for EURO 2012, but they will be looking to complete their qualifying campaign with a perfect record by winning in Istanbul and Dusseldorf. "It was important for us to qualify for the finals of the European Championships as early as possible and we did that in September against Austria," said Low. "Now we want to keep our concentration high for the games against Turkey and Belgium. Our aim is to end the qualifying campaign unbeaten and with ten wins from ten matches."
Given the lack of surprises in Low's squad, the 24 players he has named are likely to be the main candidates for places in the final squad next summer. Sven Bender and Marcel Schmelzer, who have been left out of this squad, are two further contenders as Low starts to narrow down his selection over the next six months. "Both of them have had several knocks in recent weeks so we have decided to leave them out this time," he explained. "I have spoken to both of them on the phone and they should use the next days to train well with their clubs."
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Tim Wiese (Werder Bremen), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover);
Defenders: Dennis Aogo (Hamburg), Jerome Boateng, Holger Badstuber, Philipp Lahm (all Bayern Munich), Benedikt Howedes (Schalke), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), Christian Trasch (Wolfsburg);
Midfielders: Mario Gotze (Borussia Dortmund), Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil (both Real Madrid), Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Marco Reus (Borussia Monchengladbach), Simon Rolfes, Andre Schurrle (both Bayer Leverkusen);
Forwards: Lukas Podolski (Cologne), Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich), Miroslav Klose (Lazio), Cacau (Stuttgart).