Weidenfeller, 33, gets first Germany call-up
BERLIN (AP) - Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller earned his first Germany call-up at the age of 33 on Friday for friendlies against Italy and England.
''We're looking forward to having him with us and getting to know him better,'' said Germany coach Joachim Loew, who said Weidenfeller was being rewarded for his ''consistently strong performances'' in the Bundesliga and Champions League.
Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and Hamburger SV's Rene Adler were also selected for the games in Milan and London on Nov. 15 and 19, respectively, meaning Hannover's Ron-Robert Zieler makes way.
If Weidenfeller plays in Milan next week, he would become the oldest goalkeeper to make his debut for Germany, and the sixth oldest German debutant.
''Whether for the goalkeeper or other positions, now is the time we need to make decisions,'' Loew said with a view to next year's World Cup. ''The nomination for the tournament in Brazil isn't until May 2014. Until then we're happy with every opportunity to test players and tactics. The battle for places will get even harder in the coming months.''
Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger is out of both games after Bayern Munich announced on Friday he would need another operation on his right ankle, but Lazio striker Miroslav Klose is back in the squad after his foot injury, as is Dortmund defender Marcel Schmelzer after recovering from a muscle tear in his left thigh.
Both players missed Germany's qualification games against Sweden and Ireland last month.
Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski, Fiorentina striker Mario Gomez and Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan all remain out due to injury.
Loew will take charge of his 100th game against Italy, traditionally the opponent Germany fears the most. In 99 games, Loew has overseen 68 wins and 16 draws, giving him an average of 2.2 points per game - more than any other Germany coach.
''The jubilee is an opportunity for me to issue thanks for the trust and support I've received in the last years,'' said Loew, who has been in charge since 2006.
Last month he extended his contract through the 2016 European Championship in France.
Turning attention to next Friday's game, Loew said, ''the Italians are distinguished by their cleverness and efficiency. It was our wish to play against this team because we can only develop when facing strong opponents.''
With regard to England, he praised the ''myth'' of playing at Wembley stadium.
''To play there is a great experience for everyone. A similar atmosphere awaits us at the World Cup in Brazil,'' Loew said. ''Games against our English friends are prestige duels.''
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Rene Adler (Hamburger SV), Roman Weidenfeller (Borussia Dortmund )
Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Benedikt Hoewedes (Schalke), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Marcell Jansen (Hamburger SV), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund), Heiko Westermann (Hamburger SV)
Midfielders: Lars Bender (Bayer Leverkusen), Sven Bender (Borussia Dortmund), Julian Draxler (Schalke), Mario Goetze (Bayern Munich), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich), Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Sidney Sam (Bayer Leverkusen), Andre Schuerrle (Chelsea)
Forwards: Miroslav Klose (Lazio), Max Kruse (Borussia Moenchengladbach)
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