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By ESPN Staff

Germany hand Gomez first call up for Swiss match

BERLIN, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Germany coach Joachim Loew has called up VfB Stuttgart striker Mario Gomez for the first time and recalled Schalke 04 forward Kevin Kuranyi to the squad for next Wednesday's friendly with Switzerland in Duesseldorf.

Loew also recalled defender Christoph Metzelder of Borussia Dortmund who recently returned after a long injury layoff, the German soccer association (DFB) said on Thursday.

Gomez, 21, who has scored 10 Bundesliga goals this season and has dual German and Spanish nationality, earned his place with strong performances in the last few months, Loew said.

"We have watched him for a long time and he has almost always met expectations," he added. "He is a dangerous and dynamic striker who now has a chance in the national team."

With first-choice striker Miroslav Klose suspended for the Euro 2008 qualifier against Czech Republic on March 24, Gomez and Kuranyi are competing to replace him in the lineup.

There was no place in the 20-strong squad for Bayern Munich forward Lukas Podolski, one of the successes of the 2006 World Cup but who has scored just once in 11 games since joining the Bundesliga champions at the start of the season.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Jens Lehmann (Arsenal), Timo Hildebrand (VfB Stuttgart)

Defenders: Arne Friedrich (Hertha Berlin), Per Mertesacker (Werder Bremen), Clemens Fritz (Werder Bremen), Manuel Friedrich (Mainz 05), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Marcell Jansen (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Christoph Metzelder (Borussia Dortmund).

Midfielders: Michael Ballack (Chelsea), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Torsten Frings (Werder Bremen), Bernd Schneider (Bayer Leverkusen), Thomas Hitzlsperger (VfB Stuttgart), Jan Schlaudraff (Alemannia Aachen), Tim Borowski (Borussia Dortmund)

Strikers: Miroslav Klose (Werder Bremen), Mike Hanke (VfL Wolfsburg), Mario Gomez (VfB Stuttgart), Kevin Kuranyi (Schalke 04)