Latest news: it has been revealed that Miroslav Klose suffered rib contusions following a mid-air clash with Uruguayan ‘keeper Fernando Muslera yesterday, meaning that he is out of the two European Championship qualifying games against Austria and Azerbaijan.
The loss of Klose – who has scored in every qualifier so far with eight goals in five games – is a major blow, but it does sort of solve the Nationaltrainer’s selection dilemma, with Mario Gómez set to start as the lone striker ahead of what should be a star-studded midfield, even without Bastian Schweinsteiger. The only real doubt is Sami Khedira, who had been reported as being not 100% fit.
The main problems appear to be in defence, where the absence of Per Mertesacker means that there will be at least two less experienced starters alongside skipper Philipp Lahm and Arne Friedrich. Both Mats Hummels and Marcel Schmelzer bordered on the disappointing against Uruguay, and I would start with Holger Badstuber and Benedikt Höwedes alongside Lahm and Friedrich.
Here is my own personal starting XI for Friday’s game:
Neuer – Lahm (c), Friedrich, Höwedes, Badstuber – Khedira (Rolfes), Götze – Müller, Özil, Schürrle – Gómez