Loew could spring a few surprises when naming Euro squad

April 30th, 2008 - 2:26 pm ICT by admin  

Berlin, April 30 (DPA) Germany coach Joachim Loew refuses to rule out including a couple of unexpected players when he names his squad for the upcoming Euro 2008 finals in Austria and Switzerland. Even David Odonkor, a shock selection by Juergen Klinsmann for the 2006 World Cup, is still in the frame for a place at Euro despite missing much of the season through injury and not playing for Germany since the 3-0 defeat to the Czech Republic last October.

The 24-year-old Betis Sevilla midfielder then missed three months through injury but has slowly being finding his feet since returning to action in February.

“Odonkor is once again an option,” Loew told Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA). “He was injured for a long time but has improved his performances in recent games.”

Loew will name his 23-man squad on May 16 but will almost certainly have to reckon without Bayer Leverkusen’s Bernd Schneider while Christoph Metzelder of Real Madrid is rated extremely doubtful.

“We are always looking for a surprise (addition) but we don’t know yet whether we will find one.”

This summer may come too soon for Bayern Munich starlet Toni Kroos, as the 18-year-old midfielder has only eight Bundesliga appearances under his belt and has failed to make an impression in the second half of the season.

“It is difficult for us to make a judgement on him. Would it make sense for him to be present at a tournament such as this one?,” asked Loew.

Veteran striker Oliver Neuville remains in the running for the final striker’s berth even though he is currently plying his trade with second division Borussia Moenchengladbach, while Schalke 04 forward Kevin Kuranyi appears certain to make the squad after his surprise exclusion for the 2006 World Cup.

German Football Federation (DFB) sporting director Matthias Sammer believes Loew’s side has the potential to make a real impact in Austria and Switzerland, in contrast to Euro 2000 and 2004 when Germany crashed out in the group phase.

“I really believe that this time the team will blast its way into the knockout phase,” he said.

Although he still has a number of decisions to make regarding his final squad selection, the 48-year-old Loew remains “positive” that Germany can lift the European Championship title this summer.

“The preparations and ingredients are in place,” he said.

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