Germany news

Gundogan to take Schweinsteiger's place

March 25, 2013
By Stephan Uersfeld, Germany Correspondent

Germany coach Joachim Low has said Borussia Dortmund's Ilkay Gundogan will take the place of the suspended Bastian Schweinsteiger for his side's second meeting with Kazakhstan in five days.

Ilkay Gundogan has competition for his place at Dortmund from Nuri Sahin
GettyImagesLow praised Ilkay Gundogan's improvement

Low's team won 3-0 in Astana on Friday, but a booking for Bayern Munich midfielder Schweinsteiger ruled him out of the return in Nurnberg. The coach is also likely to be without Julian Draxler, who suffered concussion.

"Ilkay will play tomorrow," Low said. "He has made a giant leap forward, not only for Dortmund but also the national team. He has won a lot of plaudits and has all the makings of being a world-class player.

Over the weekend, Low called up three players - Hamburg's Marcell Jansen, Borussia Dortmund's Sven Bender and debutant Patrick Herrmann, an attacking Monchengladbach midfielder who played for the Under-21s against Israel on Sunday.

"Patrick is still a bit tired," Low said. "He was delighted to be called up. At the beginning, he was a bit nervous."

The Germany coach is waiting on other injury news, with Mario Gomez, Benedikt Howedes and Mesut Ozil having missed a training session on Sunday.

"I don't see any problem with Mesut tomorrow - with the other two, we have to wait until after the final training session when we will decide whether they are fit to play or not," he explained.

If Gomez, who missed the game in Astana, is not fit to play, either Mario Gotze or Marco Reus could start as a 'false nine'.

"We will play with one striker," Low said. "But the discussion has taken the wrong direction. The development is there for everyone to see - the smaller teams have put their focus on defence. There is less space.

"Now everyone is saying: 'Low wants to abolish strikers.' That's ridiculous. There will always be adjustments in football. Maybe in the future we will have small centre-backs to defend against Messi."

On Sunday, the Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff said it was practically impossible for a European nation to win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

But Low emphasised: "He said 'practically'. This does not mean we will work with less meticulousness, emphasis and concentration. Greece won the European Championship in 2004. It does us good to be humble."

However, Low also said he believed it would be "very difficult to win a title in South America".