x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

'Out of order' Low apologises to Germany defender Schmelzer

Joachim Low, the Germany coach, has apologised to Marcel Schmelzer after he said the defender only played in the World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland because he had no other options.

Marcel Schmelzer, the Borussia Dortmund defender. Hannibal Hanschke / EPA
Marcel Schmelzer, the Borussia Dortmund defender. Hannibal Hanschke / EPA

Joachim Low, the Germany coach, has apologised to Marcel Schmelzer after he said the defender only played in the World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland because he had no other options.

Low had said before Friday's 6-1 victory over Ireland that Schmelzer had been poor in Germany's game against Austria last month, but he had to persevere with him.

He said: "Schmelzer did not have a good game. Many of the alternatives are not ready, we have to keep working with Schmelzer for the next three, four or five months."

But Low was more reticent on his opinions on the Borussia Dortmund player yesterday as Germany prepare to take on Sweden in Group C tonight, aiming to make it four wins out of four.

"My choice of words was very, very unfortunate," Low said. "That was not meant to come out that way. The choice of words was out of order. I have discussed it with him."

Sami Khedira is doubtful for the game after the midfielder picked up an injury in training yesterday but captain Philipp Lahm returns after serving a one-match ban.

Meanwhile striker Miroslav Klose has said he is retiring his trademark goal somersault celebration in a bid to stay fit for the 2014 World Cup.

Klose, 34, who is enjoying a fine season with Italian Serie A club Lazio, hopes to add to his 65 international goals tonight, but said the crowd at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin will be treated to a more modest celebration.

"The somersault ... I think I can still do it but I honestly do not want to risk it because I want to still be around in 2014," he told reporters.

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