Germany likely to start with Kroos against Turkey -- Loew

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BERLIN (Reuters) -- Midfielder Toni Kroos will most likely partner Sami Khedira in the holding midfield position when Germany host Turkey in Friday's Euro 2012 qualifier, coach Joachim Loew said on Thursday.

Loew was forced to alter his midfield after playmaker Bastian Schweinsteiger, the brains behind their quick-pace game, dropped out of the Group A matches against Turkey and Kazakhstan with an ankle injury three days ago.

"It is clear that Toni Kroos can play that position," Loew told reporters. "But a final decision will be taken after the last training (later on Thursday)."

"There are two or three variations. I am also thinking to maybe move Thomas Mueller back into the centre although he is a more offensive player. Maybe even (Christian) Traesch to partner Khedira who know each other from VfB Stuttgart."

Loew said there would not be major changes to his squad, putting his emphasis on tactics rather than positions.

Jerome Boateng is likely to return as left back with captain Philipp Lahm on the right and Per Mertesacker and Holger Badstuber as the central defenders.

"I think it is strategy and tactics that are more important in this game rather than what formation you will start with," said Loew who also played down the importance of Arda Turan's injury absence for Turkey.

The talented Turkish left winger was ruled out on Wednesday after failing to recover from an ankle injury suffered in last month's qualifier with Belgium.

"Arda has been outstanding for club and country. I have seen some of his matches," said Loew.

"But I think that they have in offence more choices like Nuri Sahin, who did not play in their last two games. They have choices with Tuncay (Sanli), Nihat (Kahveci) and (Hamit) Altintop."

"It is painful for Turkey but they are not weakened by this absence," said Loew, who expects a fiery atmosphere in Berlin's Olympic stadium with more than 35,000 Turkey fans in the stands.

"We are prepared for this occasion. We know there will be many Turkish fans in the stadium and we will be ready to feel the loud support for the Turkish team when we come on to the pitch. We are aware of this challenge but I am optimistic," he said.