Will Joachim Löw play Mario Götze as a 'false nine'? Can Kevin Volland cut it? UEFA.com considers how Germany will deal with Miroslav Klose's international retirement.
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Germany's all-time leading scorer and the top marksman in FIFA World Cup history, Miroslav Klose has announced his international retirement.
Klose, 36, scored 71 goals in 137 appearances and found the net 16 times in World Cups, including twice during his country's triumphant campaign in Brazil earlier this summer. "Winning the title in Brazil was a childhood dream come true," he said. "I am proud and happy to have been part of this success. For me, there can be no moment more beautiful to end this chapter." Only the 150-cap Lothar Matthäus has played more games for the Nationalmannschaft.
"When I was assistant coach in 2004, 'Miro' was already there," said coach Joachim Löw. "Ten years with Germany connect us. He is one of the greatest strikers ever, but I have rarely met a player as down to earth and as modest." Though Klose has not always been first choice in later years, Löw has often deployed him in key matches and must now explore his options for UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying. UEFA.com looks at the possibilities, bearing in mind Löw's preference for an out-and-out forward to lead the line.
Thomas Müller (FC Bayern München, 24 – 22 goals in 56 internationals)
Dubbed the 'Space Explorer' due to his unpredictable movement, Müller is a vastly different player from Klose, but was often Germany's pre-eminent attacking threat in Brazil. Regardless of his starting position, the Bayern forward wanders in search of space and already has ten World Cup strikes; Klose's record could be under threat.
Mario Götze (FC Bayern München, 22 – 11 goals in 35 internationals)
"Show the world you are better than Messi – show you can decide a match!" Those were Löw's famous last words to Götze before bringing him on in the World Cup final. He did not disappoint and, though still some way off Messi, looks set for a big role for years to come. Can he successfully play as a 'false nine' or does his future lie in his preferred role behind a front man?
André Schürrle (Chelsea FC, 23 – 16 goals in 39 internationals)
He was Germany's super sub in Brazil, scoring three and providing the assist for Götze against Argentina. His pace makes him a valuable asset and his long-range shots are lethal. The Chelsea man usually prefers to play on the left, but that is a task that may more likely to go to Marco Reus for now. Löw, for the time being, appears to see him as a menace off the bench: "André always gives fresh impetus to our game."
Mario Gomez (ACF Fiorentina, 29 – 25 goals in 59 internationals)
Gomez missed out on the World Cup following a succession of injuries, yet Löw has already stated his intention to call on him again in the future. In terms of style, he is closest to Klose in the sense he is a classic striker capable of spearheading the attack and with an eye for goal. Löw seems set on a more fluid approach, meaning Gomez could be restricted to being utilised when Germany need to go route one.
Kevin Volland (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, 22 – 0 goals in 1 international)
Volland – quick, clinical and strong – looks to be the most promising of Germany's young crop of more old-fashioned forwards. He has notched 17 goals in 67 Bundesliga games over the past two seasons and is even versatile enough to be moved out to the wings if Löw's formation demands it. "He has made a huge step forward and has a chance to play in several big tournaments in the future," said the coach.