The Bundesliga's top-scoring German footballer, Stefan Kiessling, has been left out of his national team's squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan.
Germany head coach Joachim Low has omitted the Bayer Leverkusen striker from the Group C double-header despite Kiessling scoring 16 goals in the German league this season, just one fewer than the league's top scorer, Borussia Dortmund forward Robert Lewandowski.
Low cited tactical reasons as to why he had not called up the 29-year-old.
"We have a different philosophy," he said. "Kiessling is important for Leverkusen and plays great. But our current squad has been good for us during the qualifiers. The squad leaves a lot of options. If you call up Kiessling at this age you must guarantee him has a long-term future."
There are few other surprises in Low's 23-man squad for the games to be played in Astana on March 22 and in Nurnberg four days later. With seven Bayern Munich players [Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Philipp Lahm, Toni Kroos, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Muller and Mario Gomez], five from Borussia Dortmund [Marcel Schmelzer, Sven Bender, Ilkay Gundogan, Marco Reus and Mario Gotze] and the Real Madrid duo of Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira, 14 squad members still have everything to play for in Champions League.
They are joined by Arsenal pair Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski , Schalke stars Julian Draxler and Benedikt Howedes, Hamburgs René Adler and Heiko Westermann as well as Leverkusen midfielders André Schurrle and Lars Bender. Low also called up Hannover goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler as cover for Neuer and Adler.
"Bayern and Dortmund are the strongest teams in Germany," Low said. "A lot of talented players are contracted to those clubs. It's like that in Spain with Barcelona and Madrid forming the core of the Spain team. This does not have to be an advantage all of the time."
Germany top Group C with 10 points from four games and are hoping to add another six points on the road to Brazil 2014 in their upcoming games against underdogs Kazakhstan. They will have to do so without injured centre-backs Mats Hummels and Holger Badstuber, as well as Lazio striker Miroslav Klose.