Klinsmann in need of a goal

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Jurgen Klinsmann is keen to mark his 100th appearance for Germany by ending his goal drought against Armenia in a World Cup qualifier today.

Klinsmann, who has not scored in an international for 784 minutes, badly needs a goal in the group nine match in Dortmund to silence his critics and keep his place in the team.

"I'm perfectly aware of the situation," the 33-year-old German captain said. "Of course, I'd like to score a goal. But the most important thing is victory. We must win that match."

Only Lothar Matthaus, with 122 appearances, and Franz Beckenbauer, with 103, have played more often for Germany than Klinsmann who made his debut in December 1987 in Brasilia, where Germany drew 1-1 with Brazil.

But the man with 41 international goals is going through hard times. His last international goal came in the 26th minute of Germany's 5-1 win over Armenia in October last year. Since then he has played eight times without scoring.

"We have not played very well lately and when that happens, the striker often gets the blame," Klinsmann said.

The troubled marksman and his team-mates came under heavy criticism after a dull 1-1 draw against Portugal on Saturday but Germany should qualify for next year's World Cup finals in France.

"We need five points but thanks to our goal difference, we should be all right with four which means a win and a draw," the national coach, Berti Vogts, said. A win over Armenia would put Germany top ahead of Ukraine.

The current situation is that Ukraine, with one match to play have 17 points, Germany with two matches to play have 16, and Portugal with one match to play also have 16.

The Germans end their qualification programme with a match against Albania in Hannover on 11 October, which they should win easily.

Vogts, who is without the injured Stefan Reuter and suspended Jurgen Kohler, has revamped his defence by calling up Olaf Thon.

The defender Markus Babbel had to leave Germany's training camp in Dortmund to fly to Munich, where his wife Sandra gave birth to a boy called Yannick on Tuesday. Babbel was planning to return to Dortmund but is expected to be replaced in the team by Bayer Leverkusen's Christian Woerns.

The former East German Dariusz Wosz, normally a substitute, should start the match alongside Thomas Hassler in midfield while Ulf Kirsten should help out Klinsmann in front.

The midfielder Mario Basler, will miss today's game through injury. The Bayern Munich player, who had to pull out of a training session on Monday because of a painful calf, is expected to be replaced by Bayer Leverkusen's Jens Nowotny.