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May 29, 2014

Boateng: I'll play anywhere for Germany

German defender Jerome Boateng says he will try to fit in to coach Joachim Low's plans ahead of the World Cup.

Germany defender Jerome Boateng would prefer to play at centre-back at the World Cup but is happy to line up at full-back if coach Joachim Loew wants him to.

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Loew has a number of injury concerns ahead of the finals in Brazil, but centre-back is one position that appears problem free.

Bayern Munich's Boateng will compete with Arsenal centre-back Per Mertesacker and Dortmund's Mats Hummels for a spot in the Germany's XI, while youngsters Matthias Ginter and Skhodran Mustafi are formidable back-ups.

The same cannot be said, however, about the full-black slots. Captain Philipp Lahm might be moved into holding midfield, and is still not entirely fit, while left-back Marcel Schmelzer has been limited to individual training in recent weeks and his Dortmund teammate Kevin Grosskreutz has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons -- after urinating in a hotel lobby following his club's DFB-Pokal defeat.

With Lars Bender out of the World Cup through injury, Boateng and Schalke captain Benedikt Hoewedes could be options at full-back, while Erik Durm is one of the few players to have avoided the headlines over the past nine days of Germany's South Tyrol training camp.

"I want to play at centre-back," Boateng told a news conference on Thursday. "That's where I have played the past two season at Bayern and also in the national team."

In the past, Boateng has played at both full-back positions for Germany and, speaking to the press, he did not rule out returning to either the left or the right side, saying: "If worst comes to worst, I'd play on either sides. The coach has to decide."

Loew's decision will certainly also depend on the return of Lahm. The Germany captain trained on Thursday for the first time since suffering an ankle injury in the DFB-Pokal final.

While he currently still trains individually, Boateng hopes for a speedy return of his Bayern teammate, adding: "He'll be back within the next few days, And he is really important for the team. He tips the balance for us."

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