Germany coach Joachim Low is facing a tough selection dilemma among his attacking option for the final run of World Cup qualifiers against Ireland and Sweden.
Low will be without Italy-based strike duo Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez for his side's last two fixtures in Group C, which they currently top by five points from Sweden.
Fiorentina forward Gomez suffered a knee injury a fortnight ago and was already expected to a long spell on the sidelines, while on Wednesday Lazio attacker Klose underwent a foot surgery in Munich and is set to miss two weeks of action.
“The surgery went well," Klose told Bild. "It needed to be done because I was in pain for a couple of weeks. I will do all I can to return to the pitch for Lazio and Germany as soon as possible."
Low added on the German federation's official website: “I am informed about Miro’s surgery. Right now, I can’t say which effects his break will have on our squad for Ireland and Sweden. We will announce the squad at the end of next week. There is still a bit of time until then.”
With the two main strikers most likely out through injuries, Stefan Kiessling has returned to the centre of media attention in Germany. A month ago the 29-year-old -- the Bundesliga's top scorer last season -- ruled out a return to the national side as long as Low was in charge.
But the injury woes could mean Low will turn to the Leverkusen man, who has scored five times in only six games already this season. Over the past few international games, Low has also tested Borussia Monchengladbach striker Max Kruse in attack while Hoffenheim’s promising 21-year-old Kevin Volland could be handed his Germany debut.
Low could also start with a 'false nine', with the likes of Dortmund’s Marco Reus and the Bayern duo Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze -- who is set to return to the Bayern team this weekend -- having previously been played there.
With the attacking formation still unclear, Low is also not averse to testing the “Pep tactics”, Bild reports. Bayern coach Pep Guardiola has moved Philipp Lahm into holding midfield, where he has played behind Bastian Schweinsteiger, who adopted a more attacking role.
“Philipp Lahm has played in holding midfield for Germany in the past [in Germany’s 2-1 victory at Wembley in 2007]," Low said. "And especially Bastian can play every role in midfield.
“I also expect that, we need to have this variability to be unpredictable for the opponents.”
According to Bild, Low has already discussed his plans with Bayern coach Guardiola and wants to test his captain in midfield in one of the upcoming Germany matches.
Germany take on Ireland and Sweden in the last run of World Cup qualifiers in mid-October. The Low XI have a five-point lead on Sweden and could qualify for the 2014 Brazil World Cup with a result against Ireland.