Lehmann keeps Germany place for visit of Cyprus

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Arsenal's Jens Lehmann will start in goal for Germany in today's European Championship qualifier against Cyprus in Hanover, though he has not played for his club since August. "We never considered anything else," said Germany's goalkeeper coach, Andreas Köpke.

Lehmann, 38, will win his 50th cap today. Earlier this week he told Kicker magazine that he would even consider playing in Germany's second division in order to get match practice before the European Championship next year, in Switzerland and Austria. However, he said yesterday that he might stay with Arsenal even if he could not regain his place in the team, because his children are in a London school and he does not want to move them in the middle of a school year.

The Germany coach, Joachim Löw, has said Lehmann's position is secure for the moment but that it could change if he remains a reserve in Arsenal.

"If he continues not to play for Arsenal by mid-December, we'll get together and discuss the possibilities and what's best for Lehmann," Löw said.

The Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, has said Lehmann still has a future at the club, even though he has not played for the Gunners since 19 August, when he allowed a shot from David Dunn to slip through his hands in a 1-1 draw with Blackburn. Manuel Almunia has since become Arsenal's first-choice goalkeeper, with Lukasz Fabianski as his back-up.

Lehmann missed Germany's 3-0 home defeat by the Czech Republic last month because of suspension. The Germans had already qualified but the Czechs earned their spot at Euro 2008 by beating the three-times European champions and will win Group D if they stay even on points with Germany. Both teams have 23 points with two games to play.

The loss in Munich dampened the euphoria triggered by last year's World Cup at home, when Germany finished third. The Germans, who were booed off at the Allianz Arena, have not scored in their last two games, drawing 0-0 in Ireland before meeting the Czechs.

Löw is missing his entire starting midfield. The captain, Michael Ballack, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Torsten Frings and Bernd Schneider are injured. The defender Marcell Jansen injured his right ankle in training on Thursday.

l Fifa will test a ball containing a microchip at the seven-team Club World Cup in Japan next month. If the trial proves successful the "smart-ball" could be used at the 2010 World Cup. When the ball crosses the goal-line, the implanted microchip will send a message to the referee's watch.

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