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Rediff.com  » Sports » Penpix of Germany's World Cup squad

Penpix of Germany's World Cup squad

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May 26, 2006 15:55 IST
Germany's squad for the World Cup finals comprises the following 23 players:

(Statistics up to and including May 22 2006)

GOALKEEPERS:

1-Jens Lehmann (Arsenal, England) Born: 10.11.69 Caps: 29 Goals: 0

Lehmann has won his personal battle with Oliver Kahn for the number one spot at the World Cup, with faultless displays for Arsenal in the Champions League this season until his sending-off after 18 minutes in the final against Barcelona. Although he was the villain in Paris he was the hero in Spain in the semi-final when his last-minute penalty save from Juan Roman Riquelme against Villarreal guaranteed Arsenal's place in the final.

This will be his first major tournament as the first choice, after being picked for the squad but failing to make an appearance at two previous World Cups. The experience will be different but nerves are unlikely to be a problem for such a self-confident figure.

12-Oliver Kahn (Bayern Munich) Born: 15.6.69 Caps: 84 Goals: 0

Kahn was named best player and best goalkeeper at the World Cup in South Korea and Japan four years ago as he led Germany to the final but he will have to be content with a place on the bench this time.

Made a bad mistake in the 2002 final against Brazil, gifting Ronaldo his first goal in a 2-0 defeat, and there have been several more costly blunders in high-profile games since then. Remains a real luxury for Klinsmann to have on the bench, however.

23-Timo Hildebrand (VfB Stuttgart) Born 5.4.79 Caps: 3 Goals: 0

Ten years younger than Kahn and Lehmann, Hildebrand is Germany's heir apparent. Very solid but does not often show the match-winning talent of his two rivals at their best.

DEFENDERS:

3-Arne Friedrich (Hertha Berlin) Born: 29.5.79 Caps: 34 Goals: 0

Made his debut for Germany after playing just two Bundesliga games and has looked a good fit on the right side of defence ever since. Has not been in top form this season but regularly produces his best form for his country and still has a good case for a starting place. Can also play at centre-back.  

4-Robert Huth (Chelsea, England) Born: 18.8.84 Caps: 15 Goals: 2

Tall centre-back who is popular with fans for his whole-hearted approach. Expect low-voiced chants of "Huth! Huth! Huth!" to ring out from among the German supporters whenever he gets the ball.

Strong in the air and a fearsome tackler but is sometimes caught out of position. That fault could doubtless be cured with time on the pitch but he gets limited opportunities at Chelsea, where he is sometimes used as a makeshift striker in a desperate last throw of the dice from Jose Mourinho.

21-Christoph Metzelder (Borussia Dortmund) Born: 5.11.80 Caps: 19 Goals 0:

Youngest player in the Germany squad for the last World Cup, where he established himself as a commanding centre-back.

Has since been dogged by career-threatening Achilles injuries but has now fully recovered. His form over the 2005-06 season was not good but Klinsmann still has faith and he stands a good chance of starting alongside Per Mertesacker.

2-Marcell Jansen (Borussia Moenchengladbach) Born: 4.11.85 Caps: 4 Goals: 0

The latest young, tall defender to be plucked from obscurity by Klinsmann. Has not done much wrong at left-back since making his debut against Slovakia in September 2005 but Philipp Lahm's recovery from a long-term injury is likely to deprive him of a starting slot.

17-Per Mertesacker (Hanover 96) Born: 29.9.84 Caps: 20 Goals: 1

Very strong in the air and a decent passer, Mertesacker made his first start in Klinsmann's fourth game in charge, a 2-0 win over Iran in October 2004, and has been the first-choice centre-back ever since, despite clamours from the media for Christian Woerns to come in.

6-Jens Nowotny (Bayer Leverkusen) 11.1.1974 Caps: 45 Goals: 1

Long recognised as one of the finest defenders in Germany, Nowotny was a surprise addition to the squad after nearly two years' absence from international football. He has only recently recovered from a serious injury and was involved in a long legal row with his club.

His first appearances back for Leverkusen late in the 2005-06 season were an immediate reminder of his class and he should provide useful experience to a green defence.  

16-Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich) Born: 11.11.83 Caps: 17 Goals: 1

Should make a full recovery from an elbow injury in time for the finals. Established himself as Germany's first-choice left-back after making his debut against Croatia in early 2004. Moved back to Bayern Munich from a two-year loan spell at VfB Stuttgart at the end of the 2004-05 season but was hit by a serious knee injury. Has quickly got back to near his best since recovering and dislodged Bixente Lizarazu from the team.

Klinsmann now needs him to get back that final 10 percent in time for the World Cup.

MIDFIELDERS:

13-Michael Ballack (Bayern Munich/Chelsea from July 1 2006) Born: 26.9.76 Caps: 63 Goals: 30

Ballack faces two challenges this year -- leading Germany to victory in the World Cup finals and proving his star quality all over again in the English Premier League with Chelsea. Germany's captain and midfield inspiration, Ballack was responsible more than anyone for the surprise run to the World Cup final four years ago, which he missed after committing a tactical foul in the semi-final against South Korea, earning him a yellow card and suspension.

Ballack can play a defensive role or lead the side from the front and often weighs in with a goal at vital moments, launching himself at free kicks and corners in the opposition area. 

18-Tim Borowski (Werder Bremen) Born: 2.5.80 Caps: 17 Goals: 1

Technically gifted midfielder who has yet to translate the form he regularly shows for Werder Bremen to the international stage. At his best, he is a big threat with his passing and shooting from midfield and if he could find top form it would be a big bonus for Klinsmann.

22-David Odonkor (Borussia Dortmund) Born: 21.2.1984 Caps: 0 Goals: 0

Extremely quick attacking midfielder who was named in the World Cup squad before winning his first cap. Played all but one of Dortmund's league games in 2005-06, scoring just once but setting up a handful of goals for his forwards.

Made his Bundesliga debut in 2002 but his progress was halted by a serious knee injury. Now fully recovered, his call-up was nevertheless a huge surprise and represents Klinsmann's biggest gamble.

8-Torsten Frings (Werder Bremen) Born: 22.11.76 Caps: 49 Goals: 6  

Dynamic midfielder who is enjoying a fine spell back with Werder Bremen after a difficult single season at Bayern Munich. Can share the defensive duties with Ballack or do damage with his forward running. Has a good relationship with Borowski at Werder as well and that understanding could be useful if Ballack gets injured or suspended.

15-Thomas Hitzlsperger (VfB Stuttgart) Born: 5.4.82 Caps: 13 Goals: 0

Broke into the German team in late 2004 as a defender, despite playing as a midfielder at the time for Aston Villa. His form has been patchy since moving back to Germany with VfB Stuttgart but his versatility could be useful. Has a fierce shot from long distance but has not looked like opening his account for Germany as yet.

19-Bernd Schneider (Bayer Leverkusen) Born: 17.11.73 Caps: 61 Goals: 1

An eye-catching passer and crosser, Schneider has plenty of talent and experience but has too often been quiet in matches when Germany have needed him most.

Has often been used as a right-back under Klinsmann but now that Sebastian Deisler has been ruled out through injury he seems set to take his preferred role on the right side of midfield.

Was as poor at Euro 2004 as he had been excellent at the World Cup in 2002. Klinsmann really needs him at his slick best this time.  

7-Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich) Born: 1.8.84 Caps: 25 Goals: 5

Schweinsteiger is Germany's most naturally talented midfielder -- tricky with the ball at his feet and possessed of a venomous shot. Has a great relationship with Podolski and the two of them can unlock the best of defences. Has also played at left-back, where he has looked comfortable enough, but remains an attacker by instinct wherever he plays.

5-Sebastian Kehl (Borussia Dortmund) Born: 13.2.80 Caps: 25 Goals: 3

Ball-player who likes to sit just ahead of the defence. At his best can set tempo of a game, and could be the sort of player the team needs to allow Ballack a more attacking role. Showed great promise at the 2002 World Cup when called upon for the game against Paraguay and the United States.

FORWARDS:

11-Miroslav Klose (Werder Bremen) Born: 9.6.78 Caps: 52 Goals: 21  

Had a great start to the last World Cup, scoring a hat-trick of headers in the 8-0 win against Saudi Arabia and subsequently scored two more headed goals. The way he has played for Werder Bremen this season suggests he could have a big impact again.

Retains his power in the air but has worked on his all-round game and now creates as many goals as he scores. His partnership with Podolski could be key to German chances this time.

10-Oliver Neuville (Borussia Moenchengladbach) Born: 1.5.73 Caps: 52 Goals: 6

Swiss-born forward who is back in contention for a World Cup place, despite a poor goals-to-games ratio. Klinsmann likes his nippy style on the ball and willingness to run out wide to collect. Scored a wonderful goal after coming on as a substitute against the United States in March, a performance that sealed his place in the squad.

20-Lukas Podolski (Cologne) Born: 4.6.85 Caps: 22 Goals: 10

The great hope for the future of German football, Podolski has strength, pace, a lethal shot and absolute assurance in front of goal.

Broke into the Germany team just before Euro 2004 but played just 45 minutes at the tournament itself.

Looked outstanding in the Confederations Cup, when he scored three goals in five games, and the World Cup should show just why Germans are so proud of their young favourite.

14-Gerald Asamoah (Schalke 04) Born: 3.10.78 Caps: 38 Goals: 6

Born in Ghana and the first black player to play for unified Germany. Had to battle heart problems just to make it as a professional. Scored on his debut against Slovakia in May 2001 but has never quite managed to establish himself as a first choice. Has played poorly in recent internationals and likely to spend most, if not all, the World Cup on the bench.

9-Mike Hanke (VfL Wolfsburg) Born: 5.11.1983 Caps: 6 Goals: 1

Talented striker who is a controversial choice. Was sent off in Germany's 4-3 win over Mexico in the third-place game at the Confederations Cup and the red card was enough to earn him a two-game ban he will have to serve at the World Cup.

Source:
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