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Klose is No Longer Good Enough?

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Germany has a wealth of depth for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Head Coach Joachim Loew has plenty of options at almost all positions it would seem, except forward. In 2010 Miroslav Klose continued his World Cup goal scoring prowess and brought his total to 14, one shy of Brazilian legend Ronaldo's all time record of 15. Klose will turn 36 just days before the World Cup begins, and having been dropped as first choice striker to Mario Gomez for Euro 2012, it would appear that he is no longer the man up top for Germany. 

All signs point to Germany playing without an out and out striker, Klose is the only one on the team, and all signs point to him having a place on the bench. German fans are tired of their "Klose" finishes, they want to win this tournament, and with many men now in their prime, they go in to this World Cup with their strongest squad in recent memory. Having finished 3rd in 2006, and 2010, to go along with their second place finish at Euro 2008, and third at Euro 2012, German fans want a win this year. In 2010, Low went in to the tournament with youth, he started relatively unknown midfielders Mesut Ozil, and Thomas Muller, they are no longer youth awaiting to fulfill their promise, they are first team members at some of the biggest clubs around the world. 

To go along with Ozil and Muller, Low also has Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, and Mario Gotze at his expense. Sami Khedira has returned from his ACL tear and is included in the World Cup squad however neither Bender brother could be included; Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan will also miss the tournament through injury. To go along with this wealth, Low also has Lukas Podolski, and Andre Schurrle, his dilemma will be fitting all of these superstars into the same lineup. Low also has a decision in where to play his captain, Philip Lahm. 

For years Lahm has been known as the worlds best right back, but he has played a holding midfielder role for Bayern Munich this season. Making the transition from defense to midfield so easily points to the class and quality of the German captain. However where he will lineup for Germany remains to be seen. All signs point to Lahm playing right back for his country, in order to quell the threat of Cristiano Ronaldo when Germany face Portugal in the group stage. 

Germany usually play a 4-2-3-1. If fit, keeper Manuel Neuer will start for Germany, Neuer is currently dealing with a shoulder injury. Left back was occupied by Dortmund fullback Erik Durm for Germany's friendly vs. Cameroon per Center back can be occupied by numerous individuals, with all candidates vying for a job having a reasonable chance, there is Dormund stalwart Mats Hummels, Arsenal's Per Mertesacker, Munichs Jerome Boateng, and Schalke's Bendikt Howedes, and right back will be occupied by captain Philip Lahm. Midfield/forward is where the questions can be raised, due to his late season form for Arsenal, many of begun to question whether Mesut Ozil should start at the World Cup, a claim which seems preposterous due to his class and overall ability. 

For their recent friendly against Cameroon, the German midfield had Khedira, Kroos, Müller, Ozil, Reus, and Gotze start. Schürrle, Kramer and Podolski came off the bench, according to Germany was cautious with Bastian Schweinsteiger and will continue to be until the World Cup begins. Assuming no injuries for the World Cup, I see the Germans lining up very similar to how they did against Cameroon, however with slight changes. Neuer should be fit in time to open the tournament, and the backline should feature Lahm, Boateng, Hummels, and either Schmelzer/Durm. 

Assuming the Germans will lineup without Klose, and with a false 9, the Germans should lineup with Schweinsteiger and Khedira holding for Kroos, Reus and Muller, and then Mesut Ozil will edge out Mario Gotze for the false 9 role. With Muller and Reus occupying the wings, in the false 9 they are able to cut in and play inside roles along with providing the width the Germans will need. I see this lineup going far in the tournament, with the hardest group of the tournament, it will need to be ready right off the bat as it will be tested early by Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal. The German fan base are hungry for a win, they no longer want to finish 2nd or 3rd. With the quality and youth at the disposal of Joachim Low, Miroslav Klose will see a bit part role at the tournament, if he has any at all. After all, Klose may no longer be good enough.


By Antonio Lynch