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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 11, 2008

Klose defies critics with hat-trick for Germany

Germany coach Joachim Löw was unsurprised by Miroslav Klose's return to form as the Bayern Munich striker's three-goal haul earned Germany a a 3-3 draw with Finland.

The 30-year-old has come under fire recently because of a goalscoring drought which had seen him score only seven times in 2007, but he hit form when it was required on Wednesday to save Germany from defeat in Helsinki.

"We know what Miro is capable of and faith gets repaid in life," said Löw.

The Germany coach had resisted intense media pressure to drop Klose, particularly after his lacklustre performance against Liechtenstein on Saturday.

And his decision once again to name Klose as his captain proved to be justified as Germany came from behind three times to earn a share of the spoils in their second World Cup qualifying game, thanks to Klose.

"That is the way football is," said a philosophical Klose.

"I never let (all the negative reports) get to me because I know what I am capable of.

"When I work on myself, then I am rewarded."

Germany's reward was a point which keeps them on top of qualifying group four ahead of Russia and Wales, but Low admits it could have been worse.

"That was a great football match which both teams could have won," he said.

"Finland pushed forward with fire in their bellies and we had problems dealing with their long balls.

"When you draw 3-3, it means something has not worked right and, given the way the game went, this was a point gained."

Certainly, the game will have left Löw and his coaching team a lot to ponder before they welcome Russia to Dortmund's Westfalenstadion next month.

The fact his side conceded three goals means the focus of his attention will be on the defence, and the debate as to who should be Germany's number one goalkeeper has been reopened.

Hannover custodian Robert Enke moved into pole position following an injury to Rene Adler and he kept clean sheets against Belgium and Liechtenstein to cement his place as the number one choice.

Conceding three may have damaged his reputation, but Löw is not going to make any knee-jerk reaction.

"He was not troubled in keeping a clean sheet against Liechtenstein because they had fewer chances, but he made some good saves (against Finland) too," said the Germany coach.

"He dealt with all he had to deal with. He has conceded three goals, but he was not to blame.

"You cannot criticise him."

Meanwhile, defender Heiko Westermann admitted he was "at fault for the second and third goals", but lauded the team's morale in bouncing back three times.

"We would even have deserved to win the game," added the Schalke defender, who along with Serdar Tasci formed an inexperienced central defensive partnership which Low still feels has a key role to play in the future.

"Both will develop and be very important to us," he said. "We have a lot of potential and had a very young team out there."

Real Madrid defender Christoph Metzelder now has four weeks to stake his claim for a return to the centre of the Germany defence while Per Mertesacker may also be fit again when Germany host Russia on October 11.

Four days later, Wales come to Monchengladbach, by which time captain Michael Ballack and Torsten Frings should be available in a more tried and tested Germany side after Wednesday's experiment produced an indifferent result for all but Klose.

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