Germany’s squad selection suggests Löw is set to deploy a false nine

With the World Cup on our doorstep, the participating nations are starting to name their provisional squads for the tournament, with players being elated and devastated in equal measures.

Germany will go into the competition in Brazil as one of the favourites to claim glory given their track record of success in major tournaments and their enviable blend of experience, ability and raw talent.

The 30-man squad that Joachim Löw has named this week did not spring any huge surprises, with the usual suspects all named in the contingent.

However, upon examination, it appears that Germany could be set to deploy a false nine in Brazil, as there is a real lack of recognised strikers in the group.

Evergreen campaigner Miroslav Klose is once again named in the squad, with the 35-year-old able to become the leading scorer in World Cup history if aboard the plane next month.

Slightly strangely, apart from the Lazio veteran there are no other out-and-out strikers.

Mario Gómez’s injury concerns this season at Fiorentina have seen him omitted, typifying the drastic downturn in the 59-times capped forward’s career.

Other potential strikers that were in with a shout but that have been overlooked include Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Max Kruse.

Uncapped Hoffenheim star Kevin Volland was named in the initial squad and the 21-year-old certainly has the versatility to play as a central striker for his nation.

However, given his lack of experience at this level and the fact that he does not play as a lone frontman for his club, deploying him in his role on the biggest stage seems like something of a risk.

The squad selection certainly suggests that Löw may well look to play with a false nine this summer; whether this is a tactical decision or something enforced by available personnel is an interesting question.

Germany have no shortage of exceptionally talented midfielders but lack a predatory centre forward in his prime to follow in the footsteps of famous national team strikers such as Gerd Müller, Jürgen Klinsmann or Rudi Völler.

Klose, despite his age, seems like the most plausible option to lead the line for the nation – but it may well be that Germany line-up with no recognised number nine when they open their campaign against Portugal in Salvador on June 16.

Löw has played with a false nine before, with a number of options to fill this role in the named squad.

Mario GötzeMesut Özil, Mario Götze, André Schürrle or Thomas Müller could, and have, played as the furthest man forward for Germany or their clubs in recent times and will be options for the European nation.

Similar to Spain’s tactics at Euro 2012, Germany’s lack of included strikers could well be a way of including more of their star midfielders.

Cesc Fàbregas operated as the false nine for the competition winners two years ago, essentially allowing Vicente del Bosque to field an extra top-quality midfielder in the process.

Germany have just as many excellent midfielders at their disposal as the world champions, with the deployment of a false nine actually allowing an extra one onto the pitch at any given time.

With Sami Khedira named in the squad after recovering from injury, the Real Madrid man will battle with sure-fire starter Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos and Lars Bender for a place in the boiler room.

There is also an argument to suggest that Löw may also consider captain Philipp Lahm in midfield, where he has played the majority of his club football this season for Bayern Munich.

Germany have no shortage of attacking talent to operate from wide or further forward, with Marco Reus, Lukas Podolski, Julian Draxler and Max Meyer complementing the prior-mentioned four false nine options.

However, despite the options and the sheer calibre of the included players, German fans will hope that Löw has a plan B to overloading his team with gifted midfielders.

At times in Euro 2012 Del Bosque opted for Álvaro Negredo or Fernando Torres either from the start or off the bench to change the dynamic of his attacking play.

It appears that Löw only has a 35-year-old veteran to select from if he does decide to change tactics mid-game and include an out-and-out number nine.

This may not be a concern for the Germany boss given the sheer amount of quality at his fingertips in the centre of the park.

It will certainly be interesting to see who gets the nod as the furthest man forward for the Germans in pre-tournament friendlies against Poland, Cameroon and Armenia.

By
I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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