Germany recall Schweinsteiger and Gotze for Ireland game
Bayern Munich duo Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Gotze have both been included in Joachim Low's Germany squad to face the Republic of Ireland and Sweden in their final World Cup qualifying matches.
Although the pair have been carrying injuries, they have done enough in the past to prove their worth to Low, who is happy to include them for the two games in which Germany hope to seal their place in Brazil next summer.
"Bastian is a very important player for us given his leadership qualities," said Low. "Mario has been out for a long time and he now needs match-practice and to get back into a rhythm and I'm very pleased to have them both back."
There is also a return for Hamburg full-back Marcell Jansen, who was left out of the squad for the 3-0 wins over Austria and the Faroe Islands last month, but there is still no room for Bayer Leverkusen striker Stefan Kiessling, even though Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose are again ruled out injured.
"We have a lot of faith in the players we have called up," said Low. "With these players, we want to qualify for the World Cup as quickly as possible.
"That means our clear goal is to do so atin front of our own fans against Ireland. That would certainly also be a great experience for our fans in Cologne, although our qualifying campaign will only end after the Sweden game, which we will also prepare very well.
"We want to be successful in Stockholm too." Germany can seal automatic qualification by beating Ireland next Friday, but Low has warned it will not be so easy.
"Everybody knows about the battling qualities and the passion of the Irish," he said. "We're going to have to be alert from the first minute against them.
"Ireland are going to be highly-motivated against us and they're not going to gift us anything." Should Germany fail to clinch top spot on Friday, they get a second chance in the Swedish capital, although if the 4-4 draw between the two sides in October is anything to go by, there will be no gifts on offer there either.
"Sweden want to qualify for the World Cup too as group runners-up, but regardless of the group situation, it's a prestigious game," Low said.
"Sweden have excellent individual players, not only Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Their strength is in their team unity, which they demonstrated in our first game when we were negligent in the second half after a good first half and Sweden took control, scoring four."
The squad in full:
Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Rene Adler (Hamburg), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover); Jerome Boateng, Philipp Lahm (both Bayern Munich), Benedikt Howedes (Schalke), Marcell Jansen (Hamburg), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal); Sven Bender, Marco Reus (both Borussia Dortmund), Mario Gotze, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Bastian Schweinsteiger (all Bayern Munich), Lars Bender, Sidney Sam (Bayer Leverkusen), Julian Draxler (Schalke), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Andre Schurrle (Chelsea); Max Kruse (Borussia Monchengladbach).