Created on 09-06-2010 at 00:00 AM
Bayern striker Miroslav Klose celebrated his 32nd birthday on Wednesday – and Germany boss Joachim Löw was on hand with an encouraging message. “I have a good feeling about Miro. I think he’ll rediscover his old form and physical freshness. I could see he looked a lot happier yesterday,” Löw told a news conference at the Germany team base in Pretoria.
“He’s managed to take the handbrake off this week,” the coach continued. “His movement was good, and he was doing things at speed. I sense things turning round for him.” Klose netted twice in Monday evening’s A versus B team practice match, after failing to hit the target in warm-up friendly victories away to Hungary (3-0) and against Bosnia (3-1) where his rivals for a place in the forward line earned a chorus of praise – especially Stuttgart striker Cacau.
Only a goal off Klinsmann
Klose finished the domestic league season with only three Bundesliga goals and was mainly used as a substitute by Louis van Gaal, especially in the second half of the campaign. However, his improved form in training seems to have put him in pole position for a start in Germany’s opening World Cup match against Australia on Sunday. If so, Klose would earn a 97th senior international cap, taking him up to ninth in the German FA all-time list.
“I’m convinced I can win the battle for places,” Klose confidently declared a couple of days ago. His team-mates are, as ever, impressed by the attitude and approach adopted by the oldest outfield player in the squad. “Miro has so much experience of the World Cup. We have complete faith in him, and we’re excited to see what kind of performance he comes up with. We’re totally behind him all the way,” declared Per Mertesacker.
As he approaches his third World Cup, Klose has set his sights high. He has ten goals at the finals so far, just one short of drawing level with Jürgen Klinsmann in the country’s all-time ranking. He is four behind Germany’s leading World Cup goalscorer Gerd Müller. “I think he has it in him to catch up,” said team manager Oliver Bierhoff.