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Strong representation

Eight FCB men in Löw's provisional squad

Germany coach Joachim Löw has opted for a large Bayern contingent as he assesses his options for the World Cup in South Africa. The national coach has called seven current Bayern players into his provisional squad, including keeper Jörg Butt and young hopefuls Thomas Müller and Holger Badstuber, one of two uncapped players alongside Hamburg’s Dennis Aogo.

As expected, seasoned pros Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose are also in the initial 27-strong party for the tournament from 11 June to 11 July. Leverkusen midfielder Toni Kroos, on loan to the Rhineland club but returning to FCB for the new season, has also been summoned by Löw. The final 23-man squad must be advised to world governing body FIFA by 1 June at the latest.

Seven FCB men in ’74 squad

“We’ve frequently had blocks of players from a single club in the national team over the years,” Löw commented. “Bayern have been a dominant force this season, especially on the international stage.” The 1974 World Cup winning Germany squad incorporated seven FCB men.

After designated first-choice goalkeeper Rene Adler was forced to withdraw from the tournament with injury, it had been a swift and simple decision to call up veteran shot-stopper Butt, Löw said. “He boasts plenty of tournament experience, and he’s been in outstanding form this season. He’s been consistent, focused and decisive, and he has loads of confidence at the moment,” the coach remarked.

Butt potentially first choice?

Butt reservoir of experience was another factor in his favour, Löw stated: “He’s a completely mature personality, and he can support the other players.” The coach would not be drawn on an official pecking order between the three keepers Manuel Neuer, Tim Wiese and Butt: “We’ll talk it through in peace and quiet.” Butt was a member of the squad for the 2002 World Cup and EURO 2000. He has three caps to his name, one more than both Neuer and Wiese.

Müller has made just one appearance for his country to date. The 20-year-old celebrated his debut in early March against Argentina and was described by Löw as an “all-purpose weapon" in attack. “Thomas is very flexible. His play is refined but also instinctive, he likes to come from deep, and he’s right in the thick of every attacking move. And he scores goals too, which is what makes him so valuable”

Munich men to arrive late

Löw is similarly convinced of Badstuber’s ability. “He’s a model of calm, and makes very, very few errors. He’s mentally sorted for important matches.” Löw offered compliments to both FCB youngsters for impressive debut seasons in the professional game: “They’ve performed very, very well throughout a long season.”

However, the coach will be without his Bayern contingent at the start of preparations for the finals, a training camp in South Tyrol, as the Munich stars are unavailable until 24 May, two days after the Champions League final in Madrid. Germany’s warm-up schedule features friendlies against Hungary in Budapest on 29 May, and against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Frankfurt on 3 June. The Germans’ first match at the finals is against Australia on 13 June in Durban.