Team News Update

As promised, here’s my update on the squad for the up-coming double header against Turkey and Belgium, and my selected lineup. Jogi Löw has made things easy this month by making few changes to the squad selected for the last two games against Austria and Poland, and the only real discussion point – the ever-improving Toni Kroos versus the recalled Sami Khedira – may well be solved by itself on account of the FC Bayern man being diagnosed with the flu.

With Mesut Özil and Thomas Müller definite shoo-ins in the attacking midfield, the debate over the position on the left continues. I have been a massive fan of André Schürrle all season, but Lukas Podolski – probably knowing that his regular place is under threat – has been pulling out all the stops to keep his nose in front. The real head-to-head came in the recent Bundesliga fixture between Poldolski’s 1. FC Köln and Schürrle’s Bayer Leverkusen, which saw Poldi notch up a brace and Schürrle collect a red card. With the Leverkusen youngster being banned for three league games, Poldi has also had the match time – in fact, everything looks set for him to win his 93rd international cap on Friday. The competition between Podolski and Schürrle is just the sort of thing the Nationaltrainer needs – the more they keep vying with each other, the better they will both perform.

The only other real discussion concerns who is going to take the single role in front – that is of course unless Jogi decides to play a more attacking 4-1-3-2 or 4-4-2. Mario Gómez is scoring for fun at Bayern at the moment, while Miroslav Klose – for so long stifled at the Allianz – has had something of a domestic goalscoring revival at his new club Lazio in Serie A. It’s a tough one – I’d plump for Miro to start in Istanbul as he offers more than just the clinical finish, but I am not going to bet against Super Mario starting in one of the two matches. Should things go the Mannschaft’s way, I’d like to see both of them on the field at some point, with Klose sitting just behind Gómez.

So here’s my starting XI for the Turkey game:

Neuer – Badstuber, Hummels, Boateng, Lahm – Khedira, Schweinsteiger – Podolski, Özil, Müller – Klose

I’d probably play much the same 4-2-3-1 line-up against Belgium – no 4-4-2 for me, thanks – and might be tempted to engineer the three straight swaps: Kroos (if he has recovered in time) for Khedira, Schürrle for Podolski and Gómez for Klose. Elsewhere I’d like to see more consistency, especially in defence where the improving Mats Hummels is now a first choice alongside the impressive Bayern triumvirate of Holger Badstuber, Jérôme Boateng and skipper Philipp Lahm. The other definites are of course ‘keeper Manuel Neuer and the engine room Bastian Schweinsteiger – whom I’d drop only if he was hobbling around on one leg.

As for those other players who should get some time on the park, there are two definites for me: Marco Reus – whose international debut is more than overdue – and the mercurial teenager Mario Götze. In defence, Benedikt Höwedes and Dennis Aogo might also be in with a chance of getting a few minutes off the bench while perennial “joker” Cacau may catch a few minutes at the end of either game to notch up his twentieth cap. Apart from the two extra ‘keepers, my ninety-minute bench-warmers are Per Mertesacker, Simon Rolfes and Christian Träsch.

Team News Update

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