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Loew backing Klose and Schweinsteiger to marshal away win

The Germany boss is looking for leaders when his side take to the pitch at Lansdowne Road tonight.

Schweinsteiger and Klose after defeat to Italy at Euro 2012.
Schweinsteiger and Klose after defeat to Italy at Euro 2012.
Image: Gregorio Borgia/AP/Press Association Images

JOACHIM LOEW IS counting on experienced pair Miroslav Klose and Bastien Schweinsteiger to lead his side to victory at the Aviva Stadium tonight.

Germany arrive in Dublin on the back of two wins from two in Group C of the World Cup qualifiers but have had to deal with player unrest and public criticism since the summer.

Heading into Euro 2012 as favourites alongside eventual winners Spain, Germany came up short – going out to Italy in the semi-finals thanks to Mario Balotelli’s double.

Victories over the Faroe Islands and Austria last month have not done much to appease those who believe it is time for the manager to end his eight-year association with the national team and recent comments from midfield general Schweinsteiger aren’t making matters any easier.

The Bayern Munich star suggested that they should demand more respect for their record despite not winning a major tournament since 1996 and also suggested that there needs to be a better team spirit, especially among those on the bench.

Speaking to the media yesterday, Loew addressed the issue and ordered a big performance from his stand-in captain.

“He (Schweinsteiger) explained it to me during the Euros,” Loew said. “He wasn’t all that happy coming into the tournament and was dejected after losing the German title and Champions League final, which brought him down mentally speaking.

“We had a discussion about it and he felt maybe the odd detail could be changed in the camp but I didn’t agree with that. Everybody confirmed during the tournament that the mood was fantastic. Having a team there for that length of time, it is difficult. All players go through highs and lows.”

In the absence of the injured Mario Gomez, veteran striker Miroslav Klose is set to lead the line once again. The Lazio hitman is just four goals short of Gerd Muller’s international record (68) and will earn his 125th cap this evening.

When asked about comments made by Bayern Munich general manager Uli Hoeness that Klose only scores goals against minnows, Loew laughed off those claims and called upon both the 34-year-old and Schweinsteiger to show leadership on the pitch against a physical Irish team.

Klose brings loads of experience, as does Schweinsteiger and I expect these two to be leaders on the pitch. They are the ones calling the shots and they need to see that my instructions get implemented.

“He (Klose) has been written off a couple of times. It is wonderful that he has hit the ground running in Italy. His contribution has been immense and it will continue to be.”

Loew has been forced into changes in his backline due to Philipp Lahm’s suspension and the absence of Mats Hummels through injury. He has confidence in the ability of his back-up defenders, however.

“Of course we will have a good defence. We have an experienced line. Defending starts at the top, it’s not down to the defenders.

“We have (Jerome) Boateng, (Benedikt) Howedes and (Heiko) Westermann, who can play various positions and is physical. It will be important to be good in the air.

“You have to give players a bit of time to adapt to international football. (Marcel) Schmelzer didn’t perform the best against Austria but does for Dortmund. We need to take the burden off his shoulders.

“There are no other players around so we have got to give him a chance to develop in that position. On the left flank in the Bundesliga you have very little choice.”

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Ben Blake

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