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By ESPN Staff

Mertesacker back for Germany

Per Mertesacker has earned a recall to the Germany squad for their upcoming Euro 2012 qualifier against Austria and international friendly with Poland after a five-month injury lay-off.

The Werder Bremen defender last appeared for the national team in the 4-0 win over Kazakhstan in March before a heal injury picked up at the end of last season left him sidelined for the summer.

He made his comeback towards the end of pre-season and has done enough to convince Germany coach Joachim Low that he is ready to return to the national team.

"I am delighted that Per is fit again and that he is back with us,'' said Low, who has named a 23-man squad for next week's matches.

That also includes Mesut Ozil, who was left out of the friendly win against Brazil earlier this month, and Marcel Schmelzer, who missed that game due to injury.

However, Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira has been omitted because of a thigh strain.

Hannover goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler has been included as the third-choice goalkeeper, as revealed last week by the national team's goalkeeper coach Andreas Kopke.

Germany can book their ticket for Euro 2012 by beating Austria in Gelsenkirchen next Friday night and Low says his current focus is on that game.

"We may be top of our group with a big advantage, and our position is therefore very good, but we have not qualified for the finals in Poland and the Ukraine yet,'' he said.

"Our declared aim is to seal that with a win over Austria in Gelsenkirchen so that our Euro 2012 plans can begin in earnest.''

Germany's trip to Poland four days later could then be used for further experimentation, although the likes of Dennis Aogo, Cacau and Ilkay Gundogan, who were all part of the squad against Brazil, have been left out this time.

Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Tim Wiese (Werder Bremen), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover)

Defenders: Holger Badstuber, Jerome Boateng, Philipp Lahm (all Bayern Munich), Benedikt Howedes (Schalke), Mats Hummels, Marcel Schmelzer (both Borussia Dortmund), Per Mertesacker (Werder Bremen), Christian Trasch (Wolfsburg)

Midfielders: Sven Bender, Mario Gotze (both Borussia Dortmund), Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Bastian Schweinsteiger (all Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid), Marco Reus (Borussia Monchengladbach), Simon Rolfes, Andre Schurrle (both Bayer Leverkusen)

Forwards: Lukas Podolski (Cologne), Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich), Miroslav Klose (Lazio).


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