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By ESPN Staff

Klinsmann springs surprises with Germany squad

BERLIN, May 15 (Reuters) - Germany coach Jurgen Klinsmann included Jens Nowotny in his World Cup squad on Monday despite the defender's near two-year absence from international football.

Klinsmann also added surprise choice David Odonkor from Borussia Dortmund, picking the uncapped 22-year-old midfielder over a trio of experienced rivals for a spot in the hosts' 23-man squad.

Nowotny, 32, has long been recognised as one of Germany's finest defenders, but has only recently recovered from serious injury and got back in the Bundesliga after a long legal row with his club, Bayer Leverkusen.

Capped 45 times, his inclusion was seen as a tacit acceptance by Klinsmann that his young defence needed a more experienced anchor, especially in the light of a 4-1 defeat by Italy in March.

'Jens is a player who brings a lot of experience to the team,' Klinsmann told a news conference in Berlin, where Germany will be based for the June 9-July 9 tournament.

'He'll be an important part of the framework.'

Nowotny last played for Germany in a 2-1 defeat by Czech Republic that knocked them out of the group stages at Euro 2004.

His return for Leverkusen in the latter stages of the past season were an immediate reminder of his class and were a key factor in his team's strong finish to the campaign.

Odonkor was the other surprise member of Klinsmann's squad.

'He's a huge talent,' said Klinsmann, adding that he had not picked him before to avoid putting pressure on the pacy attacking midfielder.

'He was obviously thrilled when I called him,' said Klinsmann. 'He's a fine lad. We're going to have fun with him.'

Odonkor effectively took the place of injured Bayern Munich winger Sebastian Deisler.

Out-of-form Schalke 04 striker Kevin Kuranyi failed to make the cut and there were two surprising omissions in Schalke midfielder Fabian Ernst and Werder Bremen full-back Patrick Owomoyela.

Striker Mike Hanke of VfL Wolfsburg won a place despite the fact that he will be suspended for the first two matches because of a sending-off in last year's Confederations Cup.

Klinsmann reaffirmed Germany's goal of winning the World Cup.

'It's everyone's goal and dream,' he said. 'We're three times champions. We know it will be a difficult goal to achieve but, with a lot of commitment, we're going to aim for that.'

Germany play the opening match of the World Cup against Costa Rica in Munich on June 9. They play their other Group A games against Poland in Dortmund on June 14 and against Ecuador in Berlin on June 20.

The squad will meet up on Tuesday and play a 60-minute friendly against amateur club FSV Luckenwalde in Mannheim before flying off to Sardinia for a short 'regeneration' camp.

They will then be based in Geneva from May 21 to May 30, apart from a brief return to Germany for a friendly against Luxembourg in Freiburg on May 27.

There are further warm-up games scheduled against Japan (May 30, Leverkusen) and Colombia (June 2, Moenchengladbach).

Goalkeepers: Jens Lehmann (Arsenal), Oliver Kahn (Bayern Munich), Timo Hildebrand (VfB Stuttgart)

Defenders: Arne Friedrich (Hertha Berlin), Robert Huth (Chelsea), Marcell Jansen (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Per Mertesacker (Hanover 96), Christoph Metzelder (Borussia Dortmund), Jens Nowotny (Bayer Leverkusen)

Midfielders: Michael Ballack (Bayern Munich), Tim Borowski (Werder Bremen), Torsten Frings (Werder Bremen), Sebastian Kehl (Borussia Dortmund), Bernd Schneider (Bayer Leverkusen), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Thomas Hitzlsperger (VfB Stuttgart), David Odonkor (Borussia Dortmund)

Forwards: Gerald Asamoah (Schalke 04), Miroslav Klose (Werder Bremen), Oliver Neuville (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Lukas Podolski (Cologne), Mike Hanke (Werder Bremen). Alternates:
Goalkeeper: Robert Enke (Hanover 96), Defenders: Manuel Friedrich (MSV Mainz), Patrick Owomoyela (Werder Bremen). Midfielders: Fabian Ernst (Schalke 04), Paul Freier (Bayer Leverkusen). Forward: Kevin Kuranyi (Schalke 04)