WASHINGTON – The German national team is certainly not at full strength for Sunday's international friendly against the USA at RFK Stadium (2:30 pm ET, ESPN2/UniMas, live chat on MLSsoccer.com), shorn of their influential Bayern Munich contingent due to the UEFA Champions League winners' involvement in the DFB Pokal final.
There's still plenty of quality for coach Joachim Löw to choose from, however, and a whole roster full of talented pros eager to state their case for a role with Die Mannschaft by taking it to the US national team.
And for one of the most experienced veterans on the team, there's also the matter of capturing a sacrosanct historical record.
Veteran striker Miroslav Klose has joined the squad after helping his club side SS Lazio win the Coppa Italia in Rome last weekend, and with a goal on Sunday, he can break Gerd Müller's all-time German national team scoring mark of 68.
“Gerd Müller's goalscoring record, with 68 goals to his name, seemed unbreakable for 40 years,” said Löw in a Saturday press conference at RFK Stadium. “We don't really go for these statistics and I don't think it's true for Miro [either]. Having said that, of course it will be extremely pleasant for him to achieve that on a personal level.”
A cold-blooded finisher with devastating aerial ability, Klose has already built an impressive legacy with 14 goals in the last three World Cup tournaments, one shy of Brazilian legend Ronaldo's record of 15. Now he's earned his international return at age 34, and it seems likely that Löw will give him a chance to make history with a runout against the USMNT at RFK – and perhaps even a ticket to a fourth career World Cup.
“If you look at his overall record with the German national team, that is admirable enough, so he wouldn't really need it,” said Löw. “I think sooner or later he will break that record because he's got many more matches in him and if you look at next year's World Cup, he could also become the record World Cup goalscorer. That's another challenge that will keep him going for at least another two years.”
Klose himself, like most of his colleagues in Washington, is much more interested in snaring a spot in Brazil next summer.
“Every single player who's in the squad deserves to be here, they've proved that in training, and have proved that many times,” he said on Saturday. “Everyone is highly motivated and wants to get into Joachim Löw's notebook for the future. So I think everybody will also be given a chance to shine in the game.”