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Sep 29, 2009

Muller slams Germany strikers

Legendary Germany forward Gerd Muller has launched a scathing attack on the nation's current crop of strikers, claiming they would not have stood a chance of playing alongside him in his heyday.

The 63-year-old, who is assistant to Mehmet Scholl in Bayern Munich's reserves, scored 365 goals in the Bundesliga and 68 goals in just 62 caps for Germany in a glittering career. But he has criticised Miroslav Klose, Mario Gomez and Lukas Podolski ahead of next week's crucial World Cup qualifier with Russia.

"When you see what strikers we have in the national team today - in my day, they would not have even been allowed to even sniff the ball,'' the 1974 World Cup winner told DSF television.

Only one German striker is deserving of a place in coach Joachim Low's attack, according to Muller, and that is his namesake Thomas Muller, who is making a good impression in his first season as a professional with Bayern Munich.

"He is an incredible young lad,'' Muller said. "He can use both his left and right foot, like me. He is quick, strong in the air and he is one that can be taken to the World Cup.''

However, Low has defended the three strikers he is almost certain to name in his squad this week, insisting times have changed since Muller hung up his boots.

"I have the utmost respect for players like Gerd Muller, Franz Beckenbauer and Gunter Netzer and they are role models today, but you cannot make comparisons over decades,'' he told Bild newspaper.

"It has become incredibly difficult for strikers. Football has developed particularly in the art of defending. Nowadays, strikers don't even get five minutes worth of the room that the strikers used to get over 90 minutes in a game.''

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