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May 7, 2014

Loew worried over Germany stars' form

Joachim Loew has admitted that he is worried about the form of the Germany players ahead of announcing his preliminary squad on Thursday.

Honigstein: Expectations weighing heavy

Loew will name a preliminary squad of 30 players at the headquarters of the German football federation (DFB) in Frankfurt on Thursday.

In recent weeks, the coach and his staff have been busy scouting candidates for Germany's World Cup squad, but injury problems as well as out-of-form players have left Loew downbeat about Die Mannschaft's chances at the World Cup.

Germany boss Joachim Loew watches on during the World Cup draw in Costa Do Sauipe.
Loew is hoping to win Germany a first major trophy in 18 years.

"[Miroslav] Klose, [Sami] Khedira, [Mario] Gomez, [Ilkay] Gundogan, [Bastian] Schweinsteiger -- all players, who are mainstays for us, but all of them lack a good playing rhythm," Loew told news magazine Stern ahead of his second World Cup as the Germany coach.

"At the moment, we only have seven, eight players, who are in top form," he said and admitted that "the overall situation is causing me quite a headache."

The Germany coach especially has to cope with injuries to both of his main attackers. While Lazio striker Klose returned from yet another injury at the weekend and was used as substitute in the final 20 minutes during Lazio's 3-3 draw against Hellas Verona, Fiorentina attacker Mario Gomez has not seen much of the pitch in recent months.

The former Bayern Munich forward has played a total of 10 competitive games for Fiorentina since September, and only one of them over 90 minutes.

Holding midfielder Sami Khedira has also been sidelined following his ACL tear in November 2013. However, the Real Madrid man could make his comeback for Los Blancos against Valladolid this Wednesday.

Dortmund's Ilkay Gundogan has not played a minute of first-team football since August 2013 and will not make the cut while his teammate, Marcel Schmelzer, has been struggling with injuries throughout the season.

Schmelzer appears the only option at left-back as Hamburg's Marcell Jansen not only been sidelined but, like goalkeeper Rene Adler and centre-back Heiko Westermann, have been dragged down by HSV's disastrous Bundesliga campaign.

Germany have not won a major title since lifting the European Championship trophy in 1996, and have not won the World Cup since 1990. Loew knows that -- despite the injury plagued 2013-14 season -- Germany is "longing for the title."

He added: "[I] want to satisfy this desire. We have chances to win the title. Other teams have similar chances, but nobody wants to hear that."

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