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Low under fire for Schmelzer criticism

Germany coach Joachim Low has been criticised after saying he had no option but to play Borussia Dortmund defender Marcel Schmelzer despite the defender's poor international form.

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Schmelzer, 24, has been in fine form for Dortmund, with his Champions League performances against Manchester City and Ajax catching the eye.

Low, however, criticised him after the recent World Cup qualifying win against Austria, saying: "We don't have a lot of options - thus we have to continue to work with him. I hope he gets better at international level."

The Germany coach, whose team take on Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Friday, said there were not many options for that role in the Bundesliga and he "could not carve out players" for the position.

But he faced media criticism for his remarks. Die Welt said: "Low dismantles Schmelzer - before the match," while Bild was also critical and Ruhr Nachrichten accused him of "bad style".

Dortmund chief executive Aki Watzke defended his club's player, telling Ruhr Nachrichten: "I don't think it is helpful to talk down a player on the eve of a World Cup qualifier. To me, the criticism was counterproductive. I was annoyed by that."

Watzke believes Low may have handled the situation in that way because he is facing increasing scrutiny in the aftermath of Germany's Euro 2012 semi-final exit.

"Currently, he is being attacked from all sides, and you have to allow for the fact that he might overreact in a pressure situation," Watzke added.

"Actually, he is a coach who backs his players. He defended Miro Klose against uncalled for criticism from Uli Hoeness on Thursday. I think he regrets his remarks."

On Thursday, Low issued a statement which said: "Over a long period of time, Marcel Schmelzer has played very well for Borussia Dortmund.

"In the recent friendly against Argentina in August, Marcel Schmelzer was outstanding. Therefore he absolutely belongs in the national team... I still have a lot of trust in his abilities."

The Schmelzer incident has added to recent controversies about spirit in the national team camp.

Earlier this week, Bastian Schweinsteiger stood by his comments that not everybody in the squad seemed happy when the team scored during Euro 2012, and that he felt a stronger spirit at his club, Bayern Munich.

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