Created on 01-09-2009 at 00:00 AM
Miroslav Klose watched new FCB signing Arjen Robben’s stunning debut against Wolfsburg from the substitutes’ bench, but the centre-forward continues to be first-choice for his country, Germany boss Joachim Löw has said. “There are no reasons for us to start questioning anything at the moment,” Löw stated ahead of the Germans’ international meetings with South Africa and Azerbaijan.
“Klose has always delivered for the national team over a period of years,” the coach continued. The 31-year-old striker, top scorer at the 2006 World Cup, has scored 45 times in 89 appearances, or 0.51 goals per game. Of the nation’s current goal-getters, only former FCB team-mate Lukas Podolski (33 goals) boasts a marginally better strike rate (0.52), followed at some distance by FCB newcomer Mario Gomez (10 goals/0.38 per game).
Löw believes in Klose’s proven quality. “Miroslav Klose won’t be left out in the cold at Bayern, because he’s a class act. I think Bayern need the squad they’ve assembled because of the targets they’ve set themselves. They have plenty of games, a lot of targets, and they’ll need all their players,” the coach said.
However, in coach Louis van Gaal’s favoured 4-3-3 formation with Robben and Ribéry on the flanks and just one central striker, Klose’s opportunities to play may be more limited than before. “Just look at the incredible quality we have in the forward line at Bayern now,” reflected Gomez, the selected centre-forward against Wolfsburg last weekend.
No let up
The summer signing knows the position is by no means his for keeps, with competition both from Klose and soon-to-be-fit-again Luca Toni. “Tough decisions have to be made at top clubs. Miro was on the receiving end last weekend,” FCB vice-captain Philipp Lahm observed.
Using Robben and Ribéry on the flanks meant 4-3-3 was an attractive option, Lahm thought. “We’re very flexible now, but it’s a long season and we’ll need all our players.” Gomez too is not writing off Klose, who reported to the Säbener Strasse for extra training before joining up with the national squad on Monday: “Miro knows he’s an important player.”
The new dream duo of Robben and Ribéry, and Bayern’s gala display against Wolfsburg, have left a deep impression on Löw: “Bayern showed just what they can do when they play to their potential.” However, the club’s rivals are not about to roll over and concede: “Munich had a good team even before signing Robben. They’re even stronger now – but we’re not frightened,” said Bremen midfielder Mesut Özil.